Adjustment and coping by parents of children with cancer: a review of the literature
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Studies published since about 1980 on psychological adjustment and coping of parents of children with cancer were reviewed. First, results concerning parental adjustment in terms of psychological distress, marital distress, and family functioning were summarized. Secondly, the use of coping strategies such as social support, communication, and search for meaning were described. Thirdly, factors that influence parental adjustment to childhood cancer, such as coping strategies and illness-related and demographic variables were discussed. All studies are summarized in a review table, with information about the number of participating parents and children, the purpose, measures and major results. Difficulties in generalizing findings are possibly due to the heterogeneous group of children with cancer, the differences in reporting emotional problems by mothers and fathers, the difficulties in assessing illness-specific problems, and the diversity in the ways of assessing coping and adjustment.
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