The developmental consequences in adulthood of growing up with childhood cancer are not well understood. The Course of life questionnaire was developed to assess the attainment of developmental milestones retrospectively and socio-demographic outcomes in young adulthood. The aim of this study was to assess the course of life and socio-demographic outcomes in young adult survivors of childhood cancer. Knowledge about possible gaps in the course of life could enable health care providers to aim for the most favourable course of life. A total of 353 Dutch survivors and a comparison group of 508 peers without a history of cancer, all aged between 18 and 30, filled in the Course of life questionnaire. The course of life of the survivors was found to be hampered. The young adult survivors of childhood cancer in the Netherlands turned out to have achieved fewer milestones than their peers with respect to autonomy development, social development, and psycho-sexual development, or to have achieved the milestones when they were older than their peers. In addition, survivors displayed less risk behaviour than the comparison group. The survivors and the comparison group also differed on some socio-demographic issues. A considerably lower percentage of survivors than peers in the comparison group were married or living together, and/or employed. Their educational level, on the other hand, was as high as that of their peers.
Copyright 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.