Quality of Life in Pediatric Cancer Patients: The Relationships Among Parents' Characteristics, Children's Characteristics, and Informant Concordance

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Abstract

As advancements in the treatment of childhood cancer have resulted in increasing survival rates, the psychosocial functioning of child patients has become an increasingly important issue. In this pilot study, we investigate the relationships among parents' characteristics, children's characteristics, and the quality of life experienced by children who are diagnosed with cancer. Forty-seven mothers, sixteen fathers, and nineteen children completed measures about their own psychological functioning as well as measures about the children's quality of life. Mothers' ratings of their children's quality of life were correlated positively with the ratings provided by both fathers and the children themselves. In addition, significant relationships were found between mothers' depression and parenting stress and children's quality of life as well as between mothers' and fathers' anxiety and children's quality of life. Finally, using regression analyses, mothers', fathers', and children's ratings of their own characteristics predicted significantly their ratings of the children's quality of life. The importance of examining the psychological characteristics of family members when assessing the quality of life of children who are diagnosed with cancer is discussed.

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