, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 23-32
Date: 28 Aug 2013

The Parental Cancer Questionnaire: scale structure, reliability, and validity

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This study aims to determine the principal component structure of the Parental Cancer Questionnaire (PCQ) in a sample of adult children whose parents had cancer and to illustrate the validity and reliability of subscales.


The PCQ was administered to 311 adult children of parents with cancer along with the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, Carer's Assessment of Difficulties Scale, Carer's Assessment of Satisfactions Scale, Reaction to Diagnosis of Cancer Questionnaire, and the Grief Diagnostic Instrument.


Exploratory Principal Components Analysis identified three dimensions of the parental cancer experience (explaining 51 % of the variance amongst scale items). The components were parental cancer benefits (e.g. ‘I became closer to my sick parent during his/her cancer.’), emotional experiences (e.g. ‘I was devastated by my parent's cancer.’), and caregiver strain (e.g. ‘I feel/felt there was nobody to assist or support me in caring for my parent.’). Convergent and discriminant validity were demonstrated by meaningful correlations with other related measures (ranging from 0.14 to 0.68), and strong internal reliability was shown with Cronbach α between 0.87 and 0.91.


The PCQ has a clear three-component structure and demonstrates good reliability. The measure has excellent face, content, convergent, and discriminant validity, indicating a structure suitable for use in future research. The measure appears to be a useful measure of the experience of parental cancer for adult children.

This research study was completed while Janelle Levesque was affiliated with the School of Psychology, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW, Australia.