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Acceptability and feasibility of an e-mental health intervention for parents of childhood cancer survivors: “Cascade”

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of “Cascade”: an online, group-based, cognitive behavioral therapy intervention, delivered “live” by a psychologist, to assist parents of children who have completed cancer treatment.

Methods

Forty-seven parents were randomized to Cascade (n = 25) or a 6-month waitlist (n = 22). Parents completed questionnaires at baseline, 1–2 weeks and 6 months post-intervention. Thirty parents completed full evaluations of the Cascade program (n = 21 randomized to Cascade, n = 9 completed Cascade post-waitlist).

Results

Ninety-six percent of Cascade participants completed the intervention (n = 24/25). Eighty percent of parents completed every questionnaire (mean completion time 25 min (SD = 12)). Cascade was described as at least “somewhat” helpful by all parents. None rated Cascade as “very/quite” burdensome. Parents reported that the “online format was easy to use” (n = 28, 93.3 %), “I learnt new skills” (n = 28, 93.3 %), and “I enjoyed talking to others” (n = 29, 96.7 %). Peer-to-peer benefits were highlighted by good group cohesion scores.

Conclusions

Cascade is highly acceptable and feasible. Its online delivery mechanism may address inequities in post-treatment support for parents, a particularly acute concern for rural/remote families. Future research needs to establish the efficacy of the intervention.

Trial registration

ACTRN12613000270718, https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?ACTRN=12613000270718

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank Dr. Antoinette Anazodo, Dr. Belinda Barton, Dr. Luciano Dallo-Pozza, Dr. Peter Downie, Prof. Afaf Girgis, Dr. Martha Grootenhuis, A/Prof. Madeleine King, Ms. Cherie Lowe, Dr. Maria McCarthy, Mr. Gordon Miles, Dr. Michael Osborn, Dr. Pandora Patterson, Dr. Nicole Schneider, Prof. Rosalie Viney, and Ms. Helen Wilson.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Claire E. Wakefield.

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Funding

This work is supported by Cancer Australia (grant number: APP1065428); the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (grant number: APP1067501), to CW; Cancer Institute of New South Wales (grant number: 11/ECF/3-43), to CW; and Cancer Institute of New South Wales (grant number: 14/ECF/1-11), to USD. The Behavioural Sciences Unit is supported by the Kids with Cancer Foundation.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Cite this article

Wakefield, C.E., Sansom-Daly, U.M., McGill, B.C. et al. Acceptability and feasibility of an e-mental health intervention for parents of childhood cancer survivors: “Cascade”. Support Care Cancer 24, 2685–2694 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-016-3077-6

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Keywords

  • Cancer and oncology
  • Coping skills and adjustment
  • Parents
  • Computer applications/eHealth