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Factors During a Child's Illness Are Associated With Levels of Prolonged Grief Symptoms in Bereaved Mothers and Fathers
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Ekselius: Psychiatry. Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5523-8126
2020 (English)In: Journal of Clinical Oncology, ISSN 0732-183X, E-ISSN 1527-7755, Vol. 38, no 2, p. 137-144Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PURPOSE: Previous research shows that bereaved parents are at an increased risk for intense and prolonged grief responses. To offer effective support to parents during a child's cancer treatment and after their child's death, more knowledge is needed about factors related to the child's illness trajectory that may contribute to prolonged grief in bereaved parents and about possible sex differences related to such factors. Therefore, we examined possible contributing factors associated with prolonged grief in cancer-bereaved mothers and fathers 1 to 5 years after their child died of cancer.

METHODS: We studied data from a population-based nationwide survey, including 133 mothers and 92 fathers who had lost a child to cancer 1 to 5 years earlier, using univariable and multiple regression analyses to assess the associations between prolonged grief and possible contributing variables.

RESULTS: The variables associated with lower levels of prolonged grief symptoms for mothers were being able to talk about feelings within the family (P = .00) and trusting that health care professionals made every possible effort to cure the child (P = .01). The statistically significantly associated variables for fathers were having said farewell to the deceased child in the way they wanted (P = .00) and feeling that they had received practical support from health care professionals during the child's illness trajectory (P = .01).

CONCLUSION: We found factors during the illness of children with cancer that contributed to prolonged grief for parents; these were different for mothers and fathers. The results may have implications for design of family bereavement support within pediatric oncology care, including addressing the differing needs of mothers and fathers more effectively.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020. Vol. 38, no 2, p. 137-144
National Category
Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-401972DOI: 10.1200/JCO.19.01493PubMedID: 31725342OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-401972DiVA, id: diva2:1384564
Funder
Swedish Childhood Cancer FoundationAvailable from: 2020-01-10 Created: 2020-01-10 Last updated: 2020-01-13Bibliographically approved

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