, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 279-287

Psychosocial and behavioral functioning among pediatric brain tumor survivors

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Objective: To describe the psychosocial and behavioral functioning, as described by patient, parent and teacher, of a cohort of adolescents who have been previously treated for a brain tumor.

Methods: A cohort of 32 patients, 12–18 years old, were evaluated between 1 and 5 years post-treatment for brain tumor during the patient's regularly scheduled follow-up clinic appointment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Self-Report questionnaire and the Parent-Report of the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC) were administered to the patient and to one of the patient's parents, respectively. In addition, the BASC Teacher-Report was completed by the patient's teacher. Descriptive statistics were generated; binomial distribution analyses were carried out to assess whether the proportion of individuals with impaired performance on each measure exceeded normative expectations.

Results: Comparison of the proportion of patients with elevated scores to normative expectations indicated no excess of elevated scores on any of the BASC scales of the Self-Report. However, parents endorsed items in the areas of attention problems and leadership; teachers endorsed items concerning learning problems; and both parents and teachers endorsed items indicative of somatization behaviors.

Conclusions: Parent and teacher feedback indicate some level of psychosocial and behavioral morbidity for adolescents treated for a brain tumor; this finding contrasts with adolescent Self-Report indicating no difficulties in behavioral and psychosocial functioning. The extent to which these vulnerabilities impact quality of life and the discrepancy between reporters should be assessed in follow-up studies with a larger cohort of patients.