Posttraumatic stress, family functioning, and social support in survivors of childhood leukemia and their mothers and fathers

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1997 Feb;65(1):120-9. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.65.1.120.


Psychological sequelae are examined in 130 former childhood leukemia patients and 155 comparison participants and their parents. The major dependent variables are symptoms of anxiety and posttraumatic stress, family functioning, and social support. Multivariate analyses of covariance indicated significantly more posttraumatic stress symptoms in mothers and fathers of childhood leukemia survivors (p < .001) and no differences between survivors and peers. There were no significant group differences for family functioning or social support, although they were associated with anxiety and posttraumatic stress outcomes. Current child age, age at diagnosis, and months off treatment were not significantly correlated with outcome. These findings document the long-term impact of childhood cancer treatment on parents. The lack of significant differences for survivors argues for further attention to the relevance of posttraumatic stress disorder for childhood cancer survivors. The clinical implications are that psychological interventions are needed during and after cancer treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / complications
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / psychology*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Social Support*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • United States / epidemiology