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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • family function;
  • resilience;
  • school age child

Aim:  To identify factors associated with resilience of school age children with cancer.

Methods:  The participants were 74 children, 10–15 years old who were diagnosed with cancer at least 6 months prior to data collection. The instruments used were; a self-reported questionnaire on resilience, Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale III, measurements of relationship with friends and teachers. Descriptive, Pearson correlation and multiple regression analyses were used to analyse the data.

Results:  The average score for resilience was 98.49 (range: 32–128). There was no statistically significant relationship with resilience for age, gender, religion, existence of siblings, mother's age, academic performance, duration of illness or type of cancer. In bivariate analysis, family adaptability and cohesion (r= 0.535, P < 0.001), relationship with friends (r= 0.520, P < 0.001) and teachers (r= 0.318, P < 0.01) were significantly related to resilience. However, the results of multiple regression analysis showed that only family function (β= 0.257, P < 0.05) and relationship with friends (β= 0.581, P < 0.01) were significantly associated with resilience.

Conclusions:  School age children with cancer who reported higher family function and positive relationships with friends showed higher resiliency than their counterparts. Thus, it is important to help the families of children with cancer to enhance family function and help children to adjust to school re-entry by maintaining ties with school friends and teachers during treatment. Development of counselling programmes for parents to promote family adaptation and cohesion and educational programmes for classmates and teachers are recommended.