This study is part of an international multisite research project supported by a grant from the European Union in its fifth Framework Program.” Quality of Life” (QLGT-2001-02378): “Mental Health Prevention in a Target Group at Risk: Children of Somatically Ill Parents (COSIP)”. The following institutions and principal investigators collaborated in this project: Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany (Dr. med. Georg Romer); Dept. of Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry, University of Vienna, Austria (Prof. Dr. med. M. Friedrich); Department of Psychology, University of Aarhus, Denmark (M. Thastum, Ph. D.); Child Psychiatry Clinic, Turku University Hospital, Finland (Prof. Dr. J. Piha); Department of Child Psychiatry, Athens University Medical School, Greece (Prof. Dr. J. Tsiantis); Clinic of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania (Prof. Dr. S. Milea); Clinic of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Basle University Hospital, Switzerland (PD Dr. B. Steck); Department of Psychological Medicine, Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton, United Kingdom (M. Watson, Ph. D.).
Prevalence and predictors of emotional and behavioural functioning of children where a parent has cancer†
A multinational study
Article first published online: 10 JUN 2009
Copyright © 2009 American Cancer Society
Volume 115, Issue 17, pages 4030–4039, 1 September 2009
How to Cite
Thastum, M., Watson, M., Kienbacher, C., Piha, J., Steck, B., Zachariae, R., Baldus, C. and Romer, G. (2009), Prevalence and predictors of emotional and behavioural functioning of children where a parent has cancer. Cancer, 115: 4030–4039. doi: 10.1002/cncr.24449
- Issue published online: 20 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 10 JUN 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 JAN 2009
- Manuscript Received: 19 NOV 2008
- Manuscript Revised: 19 NOV 2008
- European Union in its fifth Framework Program “Quality of Life”. Grant Number: QLGT-2001-02378
- family function;
- internalizing problems;
- externalizing problems
This study aimed to evaluate prevalence and risk factors for emotional and behavioral problems in dependent children of cancer patients using a multinational research design.
The sample comprised 350 ill parents, 250 healthy partners, and 352 children. Parents assessed the child's psychological functioning using the Child Behavior Checklist, parental depression using the Beck Depression Inventory, family functioning using the General Functioning subscale of the Family Assessment Device, quality of life using short-form questionnaire, and adolescents (N = 168) self-reported psychological functioning using the Youth Self Report.
Children and adolescents, in particular latency-aged boys and adolescent girls, were of higher risk of psychosocial problems than norms. There was a higher risk of problems when the father was ill than when the mother was ill, but it remains unclear whether this difference was due to the different diagnoses of fathers and mothers, gender or other factors. The best predictor of internalizing problems in children and adolescents was parental depression, and the best predictor of externalizing problems in children and adolescents was family dysfunction.
The results indicate the need for a family-oriented approach to psychological support of cancer patients. Cancer 2009. © 2009 American Cancer Society.