Educational and occupational outcomes among survivors of childhood cancer during the transition to emerging adulthood

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2007 Dec;28(6):448-55. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31811ff8e1.


Purpose: To examine educational and occupational outcomes among survivors of childhood cancer and peers during the transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood.

Methods: Families were recruited when children with cancer were 8 to 15 years old and receiving initial treatment for a malignancy that did not primarily affect the central nervous system (CNS). At that time, each child with cancer was matched to a classmate of similar age, gender, and race for inclusion in a comparison group. For the current follow-up (7.29 years postdiagnosis), 56 survivors, 60 peers, and their parents completed questionnaires soon after the youth's 18th birthday. Severity of treatment and late effects were rated by healthcare providers.

Results: Survivors and peers were similar on a variety of outcomes, including family background, scholastic and occupational self-concept, and academic competence. However, survivors were more likely to report repeating a grade and having more school absences. The proportion of participants who graduated from high school, were working, and expressed plans to attend postsecondary education or seek employment were similar between groups. Initial treatment intensity, time since diagnosis, and severity of late effects were associated with several indices of educational and occupational attainment.

Conclusions: Despite being more likely to repeat a grade and miss school, survivors of nonCNS cancer were similar to peers on most educational and occupational outcomes during the transition from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Interventions to assist academic or occupational functioning may not be necessary for all survivors, but additional research is needed to identify subgroups at risk for difficulties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Career Choice*
  • Educational Status*
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / psychology
  • Learning Disabilities / rehabilitation
  • Leukemia / psychology
  • Leukemia / rehabilitation*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lymphoma / psychology
  • Lymphoma / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Peer Group
  • Personality Assessment
  • Reference Values
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational*
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Wechsler Scales