Needs and responses of parents following the diagnosis of childhood cancer

Child Care Health Dev. 1996 May;22(3):187-202. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2214.1996.788788.x.


The diagnosis of childhood cancer can have wide-ranging effects on the family. The study investigated parents' views of the effects on family life at 6 months post-diagnosis, their satisfaction with services, and the support they needed and obtained. Ninety-eight families took part in the study which involved interviews with the main carer and self-report questionnaires completed by mothers and fathers. Levels of parental psychological distress were assessed, using the Malaise Inventory: 55% of mothers and 41% of fathers scored above the cut-off point held to indicate high levels of emotional distress. Relationships between scores on this measure and reported effects and support were investigated. Negative effects on parental employment, finance and family relationships and lack of emotional support were associated with higher levels of distress. Parental concerns regarding delay in diagnosis and unmet needs for counselling were noted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family Therapy
  • Female
  • Grief*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Social Support*