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J Pediatr Psychol. 1997 Dec;22(6):843-59.

Families surviving childhood cancer: a comparison of posttraumatic stress symptoms with families of healthy children.

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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, USA.


Compared posttraumatic stress symptoms in 309 8- to 20-year-old survivors of childhood cancer and their parents with healthy children and their parents who responded to child-related stressors. The relationship of child demographic, cancer and treatment, and family and social support factors with posttraumatic stress symptoms was analyzed also. Results indicate that mothers and fathers of childhood cancer survivors showed significantly higher levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms than comparison parents. The survivors themselves did not differ from their healthy counterparts. Past perceived life threat and family and social support resources contributed to posttraumatic stress symptoms in survivors and their parents. Survivor mother and child and survivor father and child symptoms were associated. Implications for the long-term functioning of families of survivors and suggestions for preventive interventions are discussed.

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