Post-Traumatic Stress in Parents of Children with Leukemia: Methodological and Clinical Considerations

  • Marta TremoladaEmail author
  • Sabrina Bonichini
  • Giuseppe Basso
  • Marta Pillon
Reference work entry


The family system is a particularly vital component of the ecosystem encompassing children with chronic illnesses. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the whole family system and often the broader social context are affected, and the balance that existed previously is disrupted. Given the impact of parental presence on a child’s emotional functioning, the parent/caregiver variable is a critical factor when a child is facing a life-threatening illness and the treatment cycles it entail. Post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), defined as intrusive memories about the child’s diagnosis or other salient moments during treatment cycles, intense physiological arousal to reminders of the cancer, and avoiding thoughts about cancer and its treatment, are closely linked to the cancer experience and are common experiences in parents of children with cancer both during active treatment cycles and for many years to come.

Methodological aspects, such as theoretical models and instruments to predict and assess post-traumatic stress symptomatology, will be outlined, and intervention strategies that may effectively help parents at high risk of developing and of continuing to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be examined with particular attention.


Posttraumatic stress symptoms Pediatric cancer Ecocultural approach Coping Clinical suggestions 

List of Abbreviations


Acute stress symptoms


Ecocultural Family Interview-Cancer


Post-traumatic stress disorder


Post-traumatic stress symptoms


Quality of life


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Tremolada
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sabrina Bonichini
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Basso
    • 2
  • Marta Pillon
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Development and Social PsychologyUniversity of PaduaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Haematology-Oncology Division, Department of Woman and Child HealthUniversity Hospital of PadovaPadovaItaly

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