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Support Care Cancer. 2019 Jul;27(7):2443-2451. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4518-1. Epub 2018 Oct 27.

Parental psychological distress and cancer stage: a comparison of adults with metastatic and non-metastatic cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, 170 Manning Drive, CB #7305, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599, USA. leeza_park@med.unc.edu.
2
Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. leeza_park@med.unc.edu.
3
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. leeza_park@med.unc.edu.
4
Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
6
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
7
Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Parents with cancer have unique and often under-recognized psychological distress about the impact of their illness on their children. Relatively little is known about how parenting concerns may differ among patients by cancer stage.

METHODS:

This is a secondary data analysis of 203 adults with cancer who had children < 18 years old from two geographically distinct areas. We used an analysis of covariance to estimate the mean differences in PCQ, depression symptom severity and anxiety symptom severity (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, HADS) scores between participants with metastatic and non-metastatic disease, and Pearson's correlation coefficients to assess associations between HADS and PCQ scores by cancer stage.

RESULTS:

Seventy-two percent of participants (n = 146) had metastatic solid tumor cancer. In adjusted analyses, mean PCQ scores did not significantly differ between parents with metastatic and non-metastatic disease (2.0 vs. 2.2, p = 0.06). Differences in mean PCQ scores were driven by a single question concerning the impact of death on children (2.3 vs. 2.9, p = 0.004). Mean HADS scores did not significantly differ between groups, although PCQ scores explained a greater amount of variance in HADS scores for the metastatic group as compared to the non-metastatic group.

CONCLUSIONS:

With the exception of concerns about death, intensity of parenting concerns, as measured by the PCQ, was similar between parents with metastatic and non-metastatic cancer. However, parenting concerns may be more strongly linked to overall psychological distress in patients with metastatic disease. Further research is needed to clarify how parenting concerns uniquely relate to advanced stage illness.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer; Oncology; Parenting concerns; Parents; Psychological distress

PMID:
30368671
PMCID:
PMC6486880
[Available on 2020-07-01]
DOI:
10.1007/s00520-018-4518-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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