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Parental cancer: factors associated with children's psychosocial adjustment - a systematic review

  • OBJECTIVE Children of cancer patients have an increased risk of developing psychosocial problems. But not all children are alike vulnerable to this stressful event. Thus, knowledge of risk and protective factors is required to design specific diagnostic tools and interventions for this vulnerable population. This study aims to provide a review and methodological evaluation of current studies examining factors associated with children's psychosocial adjustment when a parent has cancer. METHODS Four databases were systematically searched for quantitative research articles examining associative factors of children's adjustment. Study characteristics were analyzed and methodological quality was assessed by two independent reviewers. RESULTS 28 studies examining associative factors in 2896 families were identified. The included studies used a broad range of instruments assessing children's adjustment. Most patients were female breast cancer patients with middle to high socio-economic status. The majority of included studies used correlational approaches and cross-sectional designs. None of the studies examined toddlers or assessed children's quality of life. Across studies with low to high quality, we found no evidence of illness-related factors, except worse disease status that was related to lower adjustment. Evidence from moderate to high quality studies suggest that better family functioning indicates better adjustment, whereas parent's depressive mood indicates worse adjustment of the children. Child-related factors were inconsistent. CONCLUSION Health professionals should pay attention to cancer patients' dependent children. In order to identify this at-risk population, parent's depressive mood and poor family functioning should be considered. Future studies should also assess children's quality of life and child-related factors.
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Author:Thomas Krattenmacher, Franziska Kühne, Johanna Ernst, Corinna Bergelt, Georg Romer, Birgit Möller
Parent Title (English):Journal of psychosomatic research
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2012
Year of first Publication:2012
Release Date:2020/10/16
GND Keyword:Adaptation; Child; Humans; Neoplasms/psychology; Parents/psychology; Psychological; Social Adjustment
First Page:344
Last Page:356
Faculties:Sozialwesen (SW)
Publication list:Möller-Kallista, Birgit
Licence (German):License LogoBibliographische Daten