Surviving a brain tumor in childhood: impact on family functioning in adolescence
To investigate family functioning in families with an adolescent survivor of a pediatric brain tumor. We explored whether adolescent, parent, disease and treatment factors, and demographic characteristics predicted family functioning.Methods
In this cross-sectional study, 45 adolescent survivors of pediatric brain tumors and their parents completed self-report questionnaires on family functioning, and emotional and behavioral problems. Parents completed questionnaires on their own mental health and the burden of treatment.ResultsCompared to general population norms, adolescents reported higher levels of cohesion, expressiveness, organization, control, family values and social orientation, and absence of conflict. Parents reported higher levels of social orientation and lower levels of conflict and family values. The only predictor of family functioning was current age of the adolescent; older adolescents reported less family conflict. No relation was found between family functioning and emotional and behavioral problems, disease- or treatment factors, and demographic variables.Conclusions
In this exploratory study, adolescent survivors of a pediatric brain tumor characterized their families by higher levels of cohesion, expressiveness, organization, control, family values and social orientation, and absence of conflict, which differs from the more normative view held by their parents. A higher adolescent age predicted less family conflict, which may indicate deviant autonomy development in these survivors. Because of limitations of this study, conclusions should be considered provisional; they provide clues for further research in this area. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.