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J Pediatr Psychol. 2013 May;38(4):449-61. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jss173. Epub 2013 Jan 21.

A pilot trial of a stress management intervention for primary caregivers of children newly diagnosed with cancer: preliminary evidence that perceived social support moderates the psychosocial benefit of intervention.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, 3943 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.



(1) To examine the acceptability and feasibility of a stress management intervention for caregivers of children recently diagnosed with cancer. (2) To explore whether caregivers with lower baseline perceived social support derive greater benefit from the intervention than those with higher perceived support.


45 primary caregivers were randomly assigned to intervention or standard care. Of these, 37 completed measures of social support, depression, anxiety, and perceived stress at both pre-intervention (T1; mean = 24 days post-diagnosis) and post-intervention time points (T2; mean = 165 days post-diagnosis).


Enrollment, retention, and satisfaction data support feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. There was no overall significant impact of participation in the intervention on levels of distress at T2. However, T1 social support moderated intervention response, with caregivers who perceived lower T1 support showing greater psychological benefit from the intervention.


Primary caregivers with lower levels of perceived social support may benefit from preemptive stress management intervention.

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