• adolescent with cancer;
  • anxiety;
  • coping;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • resilience


Aims.  To report a study examining the relationships among coping, anxiety and resilience and to identify predictors of anxiety and resilience in adolescents undergoing cancer treatment.

Background.  Anxiety is the main psychological disturbance in adolescents with cancer, but predictors in the context of anxiety related cancer treatments have not been investigated.

Design.  Cross-sectional study.

Methods.  Adolescents (= 131) recruited from three medical centres between 2010–2011. The eligible participants were diagnosed with cancer, without mental disease and receiving chemotherapy. Participants were assessed with the paediatric cancer coping scale, revised children’s manifest anxiety scale, second edition, and the Haase adolescent resilience in illness scale.

Results.  Over 20% of participants scored high on worry. The most commonly used coping strategy was cognitive coping, followed by problem-oriented coping and finally by defensive coping. There was a statistically significant correlation between defensive coping and level of worry. Resilience was positively correlated with cognitive coping and problem-oriented coping. The cognitive coping and defensive coping were found to predict anxiety and resilience significantly by a step-wise multiple regression analysis and accounted for 40·9% and 46·5% of total variance, respectively.

Conclusions.  Cognitive coping and defensive coping are predictors for the level of anxiety and resilience in adolescents undergoing cancer treatment. Health providers should evaluate coping behaviour in patients and work towards a cognitive and problem-oriented coping style that will benefit the patient’s mental health during treatment.