The Effects of Attention Problems on Psychosocial Functioning in Childhood Brain Tumor Survivors: A 2-Year Postcraniospinal Irradiation Follow-up

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the psychosocial outcomes and impact of attention problems in survivors of pediatric brain tumor.

Study Design:

The survivors’ cognitive functioning was measured using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. The Child Behavior Checklist-Attention Problems scale was used to screen for attention problems, and participants were classified as having attention problems (n=15) or normal attention (n=36). Psychosocial functioning was examined with the Korean Personality Rating scale for Children (K-PRC) at precraniospinal radiation and at 2-year follow-up.

Results:

The attention problem group showed significantly higher depression and externalizing symptoms (delinquency, hyperactivity) and more significant impairment in family relationships than did the normal attention group at baseline. At follow-up, the attention problem group demonstrated significantly more delinquency and impaired family and social relationships. With the K-PRC scores, except for the somatization, social relationship subscale, there were significant differences between groups, but not in terms of treatment by time interaction or within time. At follow-up, multiple linear regressions showed that age at diagnosis significantly predicted K-PRC somatization (B=−1.7, P=0.004) and social relationships (B=−1.7, P=0.004), baseline full-scale intelligence quotient predicted K-PRC depression (B=−0.4, P=0.032) and somatization (B=−0.3, P=0.015), and attention problems at baseline predicted K-PRC depression (B=−15.2, P=0.036) and social relationships (B=−11.6, P=0.016).

Conclusion:

Pediatric brain tumor survivors, in particular, patients with attention problems, had worse psychosocial functioning at baseline and follow-up. Attention problems at baseline need to be carefully evaluated in assessing psychosocial functioning of pediatric brain tumor survivors.

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