PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS RELATED TO THE ONSET OF CHILDHOOD CANCER (STRESS, FAMILY, GREECE).
KeywordsTumors in children -- Psychological aspects.
Sick children -- Psychology.
Cancer -- Patients -- Psychological aspects.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this retrospective study was to investigate some psychosocial factors that may be related to the development of childhood cancer. The questions that guided the study were: When compared to families of healthy children (1) Do the family structure, dynamics and atmosphere present any commonalities among children with cancer? (2) Are there any personality characteristics common to children with cancer? (3) Have children with cancer experienced more of stressful events during the year that preceded diagnosis? (4) Have children with cancer experienced a major loss? Twelve children between the ages of 2 to 13 who were diagnosed with a form of cancer were compared to twelve healthy but accidently injured children of the same age, and sex and socioeconomic background hospitalized at the 2nd Pediatric Department of The University of Athens. A semistructured interview was used to gather information from their mothers within the month that followed the child's diagnosis or accident. Chi-square and T-test analyses were used at the .05 level of significance to determine differences between groups on each of the variables. Findings revealed that, compared to healthy children, children with cancer tended to belong to "broken home" families in which most had experienced (a) the loss or absence of a significant person (particularly the father) early in their life or (b) an unhappy marriage between their parents, frequently resulting from an "arranged" marriage. Within their family children occupied a special status and were raised as "only" or "first-borns." A major upcoming event was anticipated in most of their families within the same month that the diagnosis was pronounced; this event was aborted as a result of the child's diagnosis. Limitations of the study, discussion of the methodology and recommendations for further research are presented.
Degree ProgramCounseling and Guidance