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J Psychosom Res. 2014 Mar;76(3):213-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.11.020. Epub 2013 Dec 7.

A comparison of the emotional and behavioral problems of children of patients with cancer or a mental disorder and their association with parental quality of life.

Author information

  • 1University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Department of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Germany. Electronic address: t.krattenmacher@uke.de.
  • 2University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Department of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Germany.
  • 3University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Department of Medical Psychology, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the emotional and behavioral problems of children of patients suffering from cancer or a mental disorder and their association with parental quality of life.

METHODS:

A total of 223 children from 136 families and their 160 parents were investigated from multiple perspectives in a cross-sectional study. The consistency of different adjustment reports between family members was examined. Through mixed models, the differences between parental HRQoL and the children's symptomatology were studied with regard to the type of parental illness. The prediction of children's adjustment through parental HRQoL was further examined. Additionally, gender and age of the children were considered.

RESULTS:

Half of the children exhibited psychosocial problems. Gender and age differences were independent of the type of parental disease. In families with parental cancer, the reports of children's adjustment were more consistent between family members than in families where a parental mental disorder was present. We found differences in HRQoL between families with mentally ill parents and those with parental cancer patients. Specifically, the healthy partners of mentally ill parents showed worse HRQoL compared with healthy partners of cancer patients. Healthy parents' reduced HRQoL was associated with worse adjustment in their children, regardless of the type of parental illness, but this result was not found for ill parents.

CONCLUSION:

Family members confronted with parental cancer or mental disorders are more burdened compared with those from the "normal" population, independently of the type of disease. Our results indicate that the type of a parental disease has no direct effect on children's adjustment. However, there are disease-specific effects on parental HRQoL, which are associated with children's adjustment.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer; Child care; Coping; Oncology; Parents; Psychosocial aspects; Quality of life

PMID:
24529040
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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