Surviving a brain tumor in childhood: Impact on family functioning in adolescence

Psycho-Oncology (Impact Factor: 2.44). 07/2014; 24(1):n/a-n/a. DOI: 10.1002/pon.3599


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.

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Available from: Renske Schappin, Jul 16, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: A systematic review was conducted to (1) investigate family resilience in the context of pediatric cancer, and (2) examine theoretical, methodological, and statistical issues in this literature. Family resilience was operationalized as competent family functioning after exposure to a significant risk. METHODS: Following guidelines for systematic reviews, searches were performed using Web of Science, Pubmed, Cochrane, PsycInfo, and Embase. After screening 5,563 articles, 85 fulfilled inclusion criteria and were extracted for review. RESULTS: Findings indicated that most families are resilient, adapting well to the crisis of cancer diagnosis. However, a subset still experiences difficulties. Methodological issues in the current literature hamper strong nuanced conclusions. CONCLUSIONS: We suggest future research with a greater focus on family resilience and factors predicting it, based on available theory, and conducted with attention toward unit of measurement and use of appropriate statistical analyses. Improvements in research are needed to best inform family-based clinical efforts.
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