Disorder and disconnection: parent experiences of liminality when caring for their dying child

Jordan, Joanne; Price, Jayne and Prior, Lindsay (2015). Disorder and disconnection: parent experiences of liminality when caring for their dying child. Sociology of Health & Illness, 37(6) pp. 839–855.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12235


Parents caring for a child with a life threatening or life limiting illness experience a protracted and largely unknown journey, as they and their child oscillate somewhere between life and death. Using an interpretative qualitative approach, interviews were conducted with parents (n=25) of children who had died. Findings reveal parents’ experiences to be characterised by personal disorder and transformation as well as social marginalisation and disconnection. As such they confirm the validity of understanding these experiences as, fundamentally, one of liminality, in terms of both individual and collective response. In dissecting two inter-related dimensions of liminality, an underlying tension between how transition is subjectively experienced and how it is socially constructed is exposed. In particular, a structural failure to recognise the chronic nature of felt liminality can impede parents’ effective transition.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions



  • Item ORO ID
  • 59063
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 0141-9889
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    PhD StudentshipNot SetQueens University Belfast
  • Keywords
  • children; parents; life threatening / life limiting illness; transition; liminality
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2015 Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Related URLs
  • Depositing User
  • Joanne Jordan