Brief Report: Psychosocial Functioning of Fathers as Primary Caregivers of Pediatric Oncology Patients

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ObjectiveTo evaluate the psychosocial functioning of fathers as primary caregivers of pediatric oncology patients.MethodsFathers who identified themselves as the primary medical caregivers were given a packet of questionnaires, including the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), the Impact of Event Scale (IES), the Impact on Family Scale (IFS), the Caregiver Strain Questionnaire (CGSQ), and the Parent Experience of Child Illness (PECI) scale, to complete and return by mail. The 23 fathers who returned the questionnaire packets were compared with 23 mothers who were matched on demographic variables.ResultsThere were no differences between groups on self-report measures of distress or illness-related parenting stress. Descriptively, however, the majority of parents were above normative means on measures of psychological distress with a significantly greater proportion of fathers endorsing elevated levels of depression on the BSI.ConclusionIncluding fathers in pediatric psychosocial research is important and represents a growing trend in psycho-oncology.

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