Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Family dysfunction strong predictor of emotional problems in children of cancer patients

Date:
June 23, 2014
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
A cancer diagnosis affects the whole family, and a significant number of children of cancer patients may be at risk for emotional and behavioral problems. New research suggests that family dysfunction may increase a child's risk of experiencing such problems after learning of a parent's illness. "This means that in view of a life-threatening disease in a parent, the level of family functioning predicts children's behavioral and emotional symptoms more than any other tested variable including illness-related factors," the lead author explained.

A cancer diagnosis affects the whole family, and a significant number of children of cancer patients may be at risk for emotional and behavioral problems. A new analysis published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, suggests that family dysfunction may increase a child's risk of experiencing such problems after learning of a parent's illness.

Approximately 21% of all newly diagnosed cancer patients are between the ages of 25 and 54 years, and many may have dependent children living with them at home. While most children and adolescents cope well with a parent's illness, some can become highly distressed or develop psychosocial issues. Therefore, it is important to know which factors may affect a children's adjustment to a parent's cancer diagnosis and to develop specific screening tools and healthcare programs for children who may go on to experience problems.

In a recent study led by Birgit Möller, PhD, of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and the University Medical Center Münster in Germany, 235 families -- including 402 parents and 324 children aged 11 to 21 years -- completed questionnaires that assessed emotional and behavioral health. At least one parent in each family was diagnosed with cancer.

The researchers found that, compared with norms, children of cancer patients showed increased average levels of emotional and behavioral symptoms. From both the parents' and the children's perspectives, the best predictor of emotional and behavioral problems was general family dysfunction. "This means that in view of a life-threatening disease in a parent, the level of family functioning predicts children's behavioral and emotional symptoms more than any other tested variable including illness-related factors," Dr. Möller explained.

Dr. Möller noted that screening for child mental health problems, family dysfunction, and parental depression can be easily adopted into cancer care so that families in need of support can be identified. "Additional training of oncologists, interdisciplinary approaches, and family-based mental health liaison services are recommended to meet the needs of minor children and their families and to minimize negative long-term effects in children," she said. Dr. Möller and her team have developed a preventive counseling program -- called the Children of Somatically Ill Parents (COSIP) program -- that focuses on family communication, affective involvement of family members, flexible problem solving, mutual support, and parenting issues.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Birgit Möller, Claus Barkmann, Thomas Krattenmacher, Franziska Kühne, Corinna Bergelt, Volker Beierlein, Johanna Ernst, Elmar Brähler, Hans-Henning Flechtner, Wolfgang Herzog, Kai von Klitzing, Daniel Führer, Franz Resch and Georg Romer. Children of cancer patients: Prevalence and predictors of emotional and behavioral problems. Cancer, June 2014 DOI: 10.1002/cncr.28644

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Family dysfunction strong predictor of emotional problems in children of cancer patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092936.htm>.
Wiley. (2014, June 23). Family dysfunction strong predictor of emotional problems in children of cancer patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092936.htm
Wiley. "Family dysfunction strong predictor of emotional problems in children of cancer patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140623092936.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) — Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) — Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) — Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins