The play experiences of daughters who were caregivers to their mothers with multiple sclerosis were described. The experiences of four Caucasian women aged 19–26 years were captured using the interpretive phenomenological methods of interviews, field notes, and artifacts. Family systems theory provided the conceptual framework for the study and facilitated the interpretation of the findings. The thematic analysis revealed three themes: (a) being a good daughter, (b) blurred relationship boundaries, and (c) encumbered play. Being a good daughter encompassed personal caregiving for their mothers. The associated guilt and worry was perceived to mature the participants beyond their years. Excessive caregiving exacerbated by limited social networks contributed to the blurring of mother-daughter relationships. Play, although restricted, provided a welcomed escape from caregiving responsibilities. Impoverished play experiences as caregivers were reported to negatively impact adult physical activity and recreation pursuits.
Alison Jonzon was with the University of Alberta. She is now with Edmonton Catholic Schools in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Donna Goodwin is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB, Canada.