Adjustment to childhood cancer: Parent -child coping and family functioning
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Many studies have examined the interaction of parent-child coping during a specific stressful medical procedure. However, no study has examined this dynamic in general coping with childhood cancer. This study explored factors associated with children's psychological adjustment to cancer, including gender, treatment status, reciprocity of parent-child coping, and family functioning variables. Participants were 40 children with cancer, 7--16 years of age, who completed the Child Behavioral Style Scale (CBSS), and their parents, who completed the Personality Inventory For Children (PIC), Monitoring/Blunting Behavioral Scale (MBSS), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale-II (FACES II), and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS).;The data indicate that there is no relationship between gender and psychological adjustment. A relationship was found between treatment status and measures of learning on the PIC, with children who had completed treatment showing greater elevations in this domain. Children's adjustment was also associated with their coping and the concordance between child and parent coping styles, such that contrasting coping styles were associated with decreased scores on the Social Incompetence Scale and Adjustment Scales. The data also indicate that family adaptability was associated with children's adjustment. However, parental anxiety and the quality of the marital relationship were not found to be associated with children's adjustment. Together, these findings suggest that the stage of treatment, interaction of parent and child coping styles, and family adaptability must be examined when considering children's adjustment. These results are discussed in terms of the interactive effects of child and parent coping style and family functioning. Implications for future research and clinical services are discussed.