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Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2014 Feb;61(2):326-32. doi: 10.1002/pbc.24556. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

Child-rearing in the context of childhood cancer: perspectives of parents and professionals.

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  • 1University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



Elevated distress has been well documented among parents of children with cancer. Family systems theories suggest that cancer-related stressors and parental distress have the potential to affect child-rearing practices, but this topic has received limited empirical attention. The present work examined self-reported child-rearing practices among mothers and fathers of children with cancer and matched comparisons.


Medical and psychosocial professionals with expertise in pediatric oncology selected items from the Child-Rearing Practices Report (CRPR) likely to differentiate parents of children with cancer from matched comparison parents. Then, responses on these targeted items were compared between parents of children with cancer (94 mothers, 67 fathers) and matched comparisons (98 mothers, 75 fathers). Effect sizes of between-group differences were compared for mothers versus fathers.


Pediatric oncology healthcare providers predicted that 14 items would differentiate child-rearing practices of parents of children with cancer from parents of typically developing children. Differences emerged on six of the 14 CRPR items. Parents of children with cancer reported higher levels of spoiling and concern about their child's health and development than comparison parents. Items assessing overprotection and emotional responsiveness did not distinguish the two groups of parents. The effect size for the group difference between mothers in the cancer versus comparison groups was significantly greater than that for fathers on one item related to worry about the child's health.


Parents of children with cancer report differences in some, but not all, domains of child-rearing, as predicted by healthcare professionals.

© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


cancer; child-rearing; childhood; parenting; pediatric; psychosocial

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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