Coping strategies in parents of children with cancer

Soc Sci Med. 2005 Mar;60(5):965-75. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.06.030.


This study examined 395 parents (224 mothers and 171 fathers) of children with cancer in Sweden in terms of coping, assessed using the Utrecht Coping List. The use of each of seven coping strategies among parents of children with cancer was compared with data from parents of children with no serious or chronic diseases. In addition, the relationship between coping strategies and anxiety/depression was examined. No differences in the frequency of using the seven coping strategies were found between the study group and the reference group. Neither did the use of coping strategies differ among parents of children with various types of cancer, nor among parents at various points in time after the child's cancer diagnosis. A more frequent use of active problem-focusing, and a less frequent use of avoidance behaviour and passive reaction pattern, was related to lower levels of anxiety and depression in parents of children with cancer and in reference parents. Analyses of parents of children at different time points after diagnosis and in different diagnostic groups indicated that contextual demands influence the relation between coping and anxiety/depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / etiology
  • Family Health
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms*
  • Parents / psychology*