Psychosocial consequences of childhood and adolescent cancer survival

J Chronic Dis. 1986;39(9):751-9. doi: 10.1016/0021-9681(86)90158-x.


A Connecticut Addendum to a multi-center National Cancer Institute study was developed to investigate psychosocial effects of long-term childhood and adolescent cancer survival. Cases (450), drawn from the files of the Connecticut Tumor Registry and 587 of their siblings were located and interviewed. Overall response rate was 84%. The frequency of lifetime major depression in survivors (males, 15%; females, 22%) did not appear to differ from that of their siblings (males, 12%; females, 24%) and was similar to those reported in the literature for the general population. The usual correlates of depression (sex, marital status, perception of health) were observed, independent of a history of a childhood malignancy. There were no differences in the reported frequencies of suicide attempts, running away or psychiatric hospitalizations for either sex. Eighty percent of the male survivors were rejected from the armed forces, 13% from college and 32% from employment. These values were significantly higher than those of the male siblings. Female survivors were significantly more likely than their sisters to be denied entrance into the military (p less than 0.05), but no differences were observed between females with respect to college or employment. Both sexes had more difficulty obtaining health and life insurance than their siblings (p less than 0.0001). Although survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer do not seem to be at excess risk for major depression, they do appear to have difficulty attaining certain major socioeconomic goals.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Connecticut
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health
  • Insurance, Life
  • Male
  • Marriage
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Registries
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Social Support
  • Suicide, Attempted / prevention & control