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Parents' perceptions of support when a child has cancer: a longitudinal perspective.
Karolinska institutet, inst f kvinnors och barns hälsa.
2007 (English)In: Cancer Nursing, ISSN 0162-220X, E-ISSN 1538-9804, Vol. 30, no 4, 294-301 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research has shown perceived social support to be important for maintaining psychological well-being. However, severe stress may influence a person's perception of the availability and value of support from others. In this prospective study, we investigated changes in subjectively perceived social support among parents of children with cancer. Furthermore, we examined the role of parent gender and emotional distress (anxiety and depression) in predicting change in perceived support. Fifty-one parents (29 mothers and 22 fathers) participated. Perceived support, anxiety, and depression were assessed with self-report questionnaires. Parents were examined on 2 occasions. The initial assessment was completed within the first 6 months of the child's cancer treatment. At the time of the follow-up assessment 12 to 24 months later, cancer treatment was completed for all patients. On a group level, parents reported significantly poorer perceived support at the second assessment. However, further examination showed that for one fourth of the group, perceived support was improved. Depressive symptoms during the child's treatment predicted decline in perceived support. Anxiety and gender were not predictive of a change in perceived support.A comprehensive pediatric care model should pay particular attention to parents with a tottering perception of social support. Furthermore, the findings underscore the importance of early psychosocial attention to avoid negative long-term consequences of depression. Being in the frontline of patient care, the pediatric oncology nurse plays an important role in identifying early parents at risk and in shaping parents' perception of support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 30, no 4, 294-301 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-140099DOI: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000281723.34125.b3PubMedID: 17666979OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-140099DiVA: diva2:382919
Available from: 2011-01-03 Created: 2011-01-03 Last updated: 2011-01-03

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Norberg, Annika Lindahl
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