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Impact of family-oriented rehabilitation and prevention: an inpatient program for mothers with breast cancer and their children

Authors

  • Katja John,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany
    • Correspondence to: Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany. E-mail: katja.john@med.uni-marburg.de

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  • Katja Becker,

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany
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  • Fritz Mattejat

    1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany
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Abstract

Objective

This pilot intervention study assessed the impact of a 3-week inpatient program for mothers with primary breast cancer and their children. The program combined rehabilitative treatment and preventive, psychosocial, child-centered interventions.

Methods

A total of 116 mothers (age 29–57 years, mean = 41.1) with primary, non-metastasized breast cancer completed standardized questionnaires before (Pre1), at the beginning of (Pre2), and at the end of (Post) a 3-week inpatient intervention. The standardized scales included mothers' and children's quality of life and children's psychological symptoms. Mothers' emotional functioning and their 116 children's (age 3–14 years, mean = 7.4; 47% female) psychological health and emotional symptoms were defined as primary outcome measures. A within-subject-control-group design was used to compare changes before the intervention (measurements Pre1–Pre2) to changes during the intervention (measurements Pre2–Post) via dependent one-sided t-tests. Additional exploratory analyses for further outcome variables were performed.

Results

Changes during the intervention period were significantly greater than changes during the waiting period for all primary outcome measures (mothers' emotional functioning: p < 0.0001; children's psychological health: p = 0.0035; and children's emotional symptoms: p = 0.0005).

Conclusions

Data suggest that the family-oriented intervention ‘getting well together’ seems to be beneficial to mothers' and children's quality of life and psychological well-being. Combining oncological rehabilitation and preventive child-centered interventions might be a feasible approach to supporting breast cancer patients and their children and improving their emotional state. Further research is warranted. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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