Risk behaviors and externalizing behaviors in adolescents dealing with parental cancer—a controlled longitudinal study

Authors

  • Vanessa Jantzer,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
    • Correspondence to: Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Blumenstraße 8, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany. E-mail: Vanessa.Jantzer@med.uni-heidelberg.de

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  • Juliane Groß,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
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  • Fridrike Stute,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
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  • Peter Parzer,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
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  • Romuald Brunner,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
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  • Katrin Willig,

    1. Department of Psychosomatic and General Internal Medicine, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
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  • Bärbel Schuller-Roma,

    1. Department of Psychosomatic and General Internal Medicine, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
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  • Monika Keller,

    1. Department of Psychosomatic and General Internal Medicine, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
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  • Wolfgang Herzog,

    1. Department of Psychosomatic and General Internal Medicine, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
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  • Georg Romer,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatic and Psychotherapy, Asklepios Clinic, Hamburg, Germany
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  • Franz Resch

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
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Abstract

Objective

The results of studies concerning levels of internalizing and externalizing behaviors in adolescent children with a parent suffering from cancer as compared with control groups or normative data are contradictory so far. Longitudinal designs using control groups are rare. No study explicitly exploring a broad range of risk behaviors in adolescent children with a parent suffering from cancer exists to date.

Methods

Therefore, 74 adolescents who have a parent with cancer (index group) were compared with 75 adolescents with healthy parents (control group) concerning several juvenile risk behaviors and externalizing behaviors. Participants were examined three times over the course of 12 months.

Results

No significant main effects for group or interactional effects of group with time could be found for any of the measured variables.

Conclusions

Results suggest that the somatic illness of the parent is not a developmental risk that is expressed in increased levels of juvenile risk behavior. Adolescents with a parent suffering from cancer adjusted generally quite well to the parental illness, although some individuals did show signs of severe strain. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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