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Coping skills and mental health status in adolescents when a parent has cancer: a multicenter and multi-perspective study

  • OBJECTIVE Parental cancer increases the risk of psychosocial problems in adolescents. We investigated the frequency and efficacy of adolescents' coping strategies and relationships between those strategies and mental health status. Age and gender differences regarding coping and mental health were also investigated. METHODS In total, 214 adolescents from 167 families participated in a cross-sectional, multicenter study. All participants were recruited from standard oncological care. Among the participants, 52% utilized a child-centered intervention program. Adolescents' coping skills were measured using KIDCOPE. Mental health status was rated by adolescents and parents by the SDQ for symptomatology and the KIDSCREEN for well-being. RESULTS We found that 29% of the adolescents showed emotional and behavioral problems. We found gender differences in mental health status but not in coping. Adolescents used a broad spectrum of coping strategies. Active problem-solving, distraction, acceptance, wishful thinking and seeking social support were the most frequently used coping strategies. The utilization of certain coping skills was mediated by their perceived efficacy. Problem-focused or approach-oriented coping strategies generally are associated with better mental health, while avoidance-oriented coping are associated with worse mental health. Emotion-focused coping was associated with both lower and higher mental health. CONCLUSION The strategies used by adolescents to cope with parental cancer are associated with their mental health. Problem-solving and approach-oriented coping strategies should be facilitated by psychological interventions regardless of age and gender. Age and gender differences in adolescents' mental health should be further investigated because these differences are not explained by differences in coping strategies.

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Author:Thomas Krattenmacher, Franziska Kühne, Daniel Führer, Volker Beierlein, Elmar Brähler, Franz Resch, Kai V. Klitzing, Hans-Henning Flechtner, Corinna Bergelt, Georg Romer, Birgit Möller
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.10.003
Parent Title (English):Journal of psychosomatic research
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of Completion:2013
Year of first Publication:2013
Release Date:2020/10/16
GND Keyword:Adaptation; Adolescent; Adult; Age Factors; Aged; Child; Cross-Sectional Studies; Female; Humans; Male; Mental Disorders/epidemiology/etiology; Middle Aged; Neoplasms/psychology; Parents; Psychiatric Status Rating Scales; Psychological/classification/physiology
Volume:74
First Page:252
Last Page:259
Faculties:Sozialwesen (SW)
Publication list:Möller-Kallista, Birgit
Licence (German):License LogoBibliographische Daten