Emotional and behavioural functioning of children of a parent diagnosed with cancer: A cross-informant perspective

Annemieke Visser, G.A. Huizinga, H.J. Hoekstra, W.T. van der Graaf, E.C. Klip, E. Pras, J.E. Hoekstra-Weebers

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Abstract

This study investigates emotional and behavioural problems in children of parents diagnosed with cancer and examines the relationship with demographic and illness-related variables. Furthermore, agreement and differences between informants regarding child's functioning were examined. Members of 186 families in which a parent had been diagnosed with cancer participated. More emotional problems were reported for latency-aged sons (ill parents) and adolescent daughters (ill parents; self-reports), whereas also better functioning was reported in adolescent children (spouses), compared to the norm group. Age and gender-effects were found: latency-aged sons were perceived as having more emotional problems than adolescent sons (ill parents); adolescent daughters as having more emotional and behavioural problems than adolescent sons (ill parents; self-reports). Results indicated a higher prevalence of problems when the father was ill than when the mother was (spouses and self-reports). The treatment intensity affected adolescent daughter's functioning (spouses), whereas adolescent son's functioning was affected by relapsed disease (self-reports). Adolescents and mothers perceived comparable levels of problems, but fathers perceived problems in children to be less prevalent. Findings suggest that adolescent daughters and latency-aged sons are at risk for emotional problems following the diagnosis of cancer in a parent. The perception of child's functioning and potential influencing variables varied according to informant. Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-758
Number of pages13
JournalPsycho-oncology
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2005

Keywords

  • emotional and behavioural problems
  • parental cancer
  • children
  • adolescents
  • cross informant perspective
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS
  • PSYCHOSOCIAL ADJUSTMENT
  • GENDER DIFFERENCES
  • AGREEMENT
  • ADOLESCENTS
  • RISK
  • SOCIALIZATION
  • MECHANISMS
  • SYMPTOMS
  • MARKERS

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