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Bone Marrow Transplant. 1990 Dec;6(6):411-7.

Psychological distress in parents consenting to child's bone marrow transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021.


The purpose of this study was to determine the nature and prevalence of the psychological symptomatology in parents of children undergoing bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and to investigate the manner in which certain psychosocial factors are related to parental distress associated with the informed consent process. A total of 61 parents (46 mothers and 15 fathers) were assessed with respect to psychological distress, coping styles, quality of physician-patient communication, and recall of BMT information after providing written consent for their child to have BMT. Forty-seven percent of fathers and 60% of mothers exhibited significant psychological distress of a generalized nature. Mothers exhibited a broader range of specific psychological symptomatology and more severe levels of depression and phobic anxiety than did fathers. The level of parents' distress was unrelated to characteristics of their child's disease or treatment milieu, or to parents' recall of BMT information. However, emotional coping was positively related to psychological distress whereas the quality of the communication between physician and parent was inversely related. The findings from this study suggest that approximately 50% of all parents could benefit from psychological interventions which promote the efficient utilization of coping strategies and highlight the importance of the nature of the communication style used by oncologist-investigators in obtaining informed consent.

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