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Acceptability and feasibility of family use of The Cellie Cancer Coping Kit

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the acceptability and feasibility of child and parent use of The Cellie Cancer Coping Kit (Cellie Kit). The Cellie kit is designed to promote coping and decrease distress in children undergoing pediatric cancer treatment. It includes a plush toy, coping cards, and book for caregivers.

Methods

In study 1, 15 children (ages 6–12) undergoing cancer treatment and their parents reviewed the Cellie Kit materials and provided feedback on its acceptability and perceived feasibility of use. In study 2, 15 additional children (ages 6–12) and their parents participated in a pilot intervention of the Cellie Kit and completed follow-up interviews and a satisfaction measure.

Results

In study 1, all parents reported that they could understand the book and enact its coping tips and that the Cellie Kit was relevant to their families' cancer experience. Children explained they would use the Cellie Kit for emotional expression, fun, and comfort. The Cellie Kit was revised after study 1 to integrate additional material suggested by families. In study 2, all families completing follow-up assessments reported utilizing the Cellie Kit. A majority (86 % of children and 100 % of parents) indicated that they would recommend the Cellie Kit to others, and most (64 % of children and 93 % of parents) reported learning new information and/or skills from the Cellie Kit.

Conclusions

The Cellie Kit is an engaging, helpful, and easy-to-use coping tool for families facing pediatric cancer treatment. Future research should examine the efficacy of brief interventions using the Cellie Kit to promote adjustment to pediatric cancer.

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Notes

  1. The stuffed toy was originally conceptualized as a healthy cell, which led to its name. However, during early development, we reconceptualized Cellie as a neutral, nondescript toy so that children could interpret and tailor it to their own situation/feelings. Because children responded well to the name, we did not modify the name.

  2. Of note, the stressor “fear of death” was intentionally excluded from the Cellie Kit materials. Though this emerged as a potential stressor for families, several parents explained that the inclusion of a reference to death would prevent them from using the Cellie Kit with their child. Additionally, while one parent reported providing coping assistance to his/her child by encouraging religion, we elected not to integrate this coping assistance strategy into the Cellie Kit to respect the diversity of families' belief systems.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the families who helped us maximize the quality of the Cellie kit and the Fighting Children's Cancer Foundation for their generous donation. We thank the following research assistants: Mona Abughaida, Kelly Dugan Burns, Daniel Huber, and Alyssa Mathews. We would also like to acknowledge the members of Writers Seminar of the CHOP/PENN Mentored Psychosocial Research Curriculum, supported by a K05 award to Anne E. Kazak, Ph.D. (CA128805), for reviewing drafts of this manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

Dr. Marsac and Ms. Vinsel are co-inventors of The Cellie Cancer Coping Kit. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the co-inventors have filed a provisional patent for the kit and may benefit financially from the kit. The research presented in the paper has been approved by the Hospital's Conflict of Interest Committee.

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Correspondence to Meghan L. Marsac.

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Marsac, M.L., Hildenbrand, A.K., Clawson, K. et al. Acceptability and feasibility of family use of The Cellie Cancer Coping Kit. Support Care Cancer 20, 3315–3324 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-012-1475-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-012-1475-y

Keywords

  • Coping with cancer
  • Psychosocial tool
  • Pediatric oncology
  • Emotional response to cancer
  • Cancer coping kit