Article

I'll show them: The social construction of (in)competence in survivors of childhood brain tumors

The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X8.
Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.87). 03/2008; 25(3):164-74. DOI: 10.1177/1043454208315547
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Multimodal therapy for the treatment of childhood cancer has resulted in increased survival rates, yet as growing cohorts of children mature, late effects are becoming apparent. Specifically, brain tumor survivors tend to have poor social skills, peer relationship problems, academic difficulties, and delayed college entry. This article addresses findings specific to the unique experience of childhood cancer survivors as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. Qualitative methods involving focus groups and in-depth interviews with 14 childhood cancer survivors and 22 family members were used. The dialectic of incompetence/competence pervaded all narratives. Contradictory concepts of integration/ isolation, realistic/unrealistic goals, and the need for special help/no help were underscored by respondents. The struggle to deal with these contradictory factors led to the simultaneous resistance and acceptance of feelings of competence.

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Pediatric brain tumors are the second most common cancer diagnosis in individuals under age 20 and research has documented significant neurocognitive, psychosocial, and emotional late effects. Associations among these deficits have not been adequately considered and the role of survivors' coping with stress in relation to deficits is unknown. Further, research has yet to examine neurobiological processes related to neurocognitive, psychosocial, and emotional difficulties in survivors through the use of functional neuroimaging. Method: Questionnaire measures and functional neuroimaging were used to examine the neurocognitive, psychosocial, and emotional functioning and coping responses of survivors of pediatric brain tumors (N = 17; age 8-16) and healthy children (N = 15). Results: Survivors experienced elevated levels of psychosocial and behavioral/emotional difficulties relative to healthy controls and normative data. Increases in brain activation in prefrontal and other anterior regions in response to a working memory task were associated with better psychosocial functioning, use of engagement coping strategies, and less use of disengagement coping strategies. Regression analyses suggest coping accounts for a significant portion of the association between brain activation and behavioral/emotional functioning. Conclusions: This study extends late-effects research by examining neurobiological processes associated with psychosocial and emotional difficulties. These findings contribute to our understanding of difficulties in survivors and provide a foundation for research exploring these associations and mediators of deficits in future longitudinal studies.
    Child Neuropsychology 06/2014; DOI:10.1080/09297049.2014.924492 · 2.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adult survivors of childhood brain tumors experience multiple, significant, lifelong deficits as a consequence of their malignancy and therapy. Current survivorship literature documents the substantial impact such impairments have on survivors' physical health and quality of life. Psychosocial reports detail educational, cognitive, and emotional limitations characterizing survivors as especially fragile, often incompetent, and unreliable in evaluating their circumstances. Anecdotal data suggest some survivors report life experiences similar to those of healthy controls. The aim of our investigation was to determine whether life satisfaction in adult survivors of childhood brain tumors differs from that of healthy controls and to identify potential predictors of life satisfaction in survivors. This cross-sectional study compared 78 brain tumor survivors with population-based matched controls. Chi-square tests, t tests, and linear regression models were used to investigate patterns of life satisfaction and identify potential correlates. Results indicated that life satisfaction of adult survivors of childhood brain tumors was similar to that of healthy controls. Survivors' general health expectations emerged as the primary correlate of life satisfaction. Understanding life satisfaction as an important variable will optimize the design of strategies to enhance participation in follow-up care, reduce suffering, and optimize quality of life in this vulnerable population.
    Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing 07/2014; 31(6). DOI:10.1177/1043454214534532 · 0.87 Impact Factor

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