Navigation Links
Study finds post-traumatic stress symptoms in adolescent children of cancer patients
Date:9/26/2007

Barcelona, Spain: A new study by Dutch researchers has found that adolescents may suffer from severe symptoms of post-traumatic stress when a parent is recently diagnosed with cancer and that parents tend to underestimate the problems.

A cancer diagnosis is among those life experiences that can be so stressful that it is traumatic. While only a fraction of people who develop post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the symptoms can cause emotional problems later in life. Much is known about the psychological effect that cancer has on a patient and a spouse, but the consequences of a parents cancer on children are more poorly understood.

The study, presented today (Wednesday) at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona, is the first to examine PTSS over time in adolescent children of cancer patients.

Dr Gea Huizinga, a health scientist and research fellow at the University Medical Center in Groningen, The Netherlands, examined the prevalence of PTSS, emotional and behavioural problems in 49 adolescents during the first year after a parents cancer diagnosis. The children and each of their parents completed questionnaires three times over the year within four months after the diagnosis and at six and twelve months after the first survey.

At the first assessment, 29 percent of the children reported clinically elevated PTSS, which means they needed psychological help, but the proportion suffering symptoms dropped to 16 percent at the second assessment and then to 14 percent at the third, Huizinga said.

PTSS levels shortly after the parents diagnosis appeared comparable to those seen in our earlier study of adolescents surveyed one to five years after their parents diagnosis, Huizinga added. The two studies together suggest that PTSS related to parental cancer fluctuate over time, decreasing during the first year after diagnosis and resurging during the years following.

One of the most important findings of the latest study concerned how aware parents were of the magnitude of the effect the cancer had on their children.

It appeared that parents were under the impression that children with more severe PTSS experienced problems in fewer emotional, behavioural and cognitive areas than the children themselves reported, Huizinga said. The results could indicate that the level of emotional and behavioural problems of children with more severe PTSS is underestimated by the ill parents and even more so by their partners.

The study found that ill parents were more able to pick up on their childrens distress if the PTSS was particularly severe, but they still reported fewer problems than the adolescents themselves did.

Spouses did not observe any problems in their children in the period shortly after the diagnosis, although they noticed slightly more later in the year.

It seems that ill parents were better able to judge the situation. They may be more alert to changes in their childrens behaviour than spouses because of a sense of guilt over their illness, Huizinga suggested. It may also be that spouses were less sensitive to their childrens functioning because they were often working outside the home, or more focused on the wellbeing of the partner with cancer, their own emotions and on increased household tasks.

Our study also found that children with more PTSS had more emotional and behavioural problems, and vice versa. This suggests that children who already have psychosocial problems have more difficulty in coping with their parents cancer than children who are doing well, Huizinga said.

Emotional problems consist of withdrawal, physical complaints and anxiety or depression. Behavioural problems consist of actions that are aggressive or delinquent. Post-traumatic stress symptoms include recurrent and intrusive distressing memories of the event and avoidance of thoughts, feelings or conversations associated with it. Behavioural problems in adolescents with more PTSS were evident in the beginning of the study, but tended to disappear as time went on, while emotional problems seemed to persist.

Healthcare professionals should be made aware of the prevalence of PTSS in children of a parent with cancer, Huizinga said, adding that parents, particularly the spouses of the cancer patients, may benefit from information on childrens reactions and how to seek professional help, if necessary.


'/>"/>

Contact: Emma Ross
rosswrite@mac.com
34-932-308-832
ECCO-the European CanCer Conference
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Rural Canadians travel far for specialists: study
2. A new study surpasses Gene Therapy Hurdle
3. Tomato Sauce reduces Cancer Risk- Study
4. A question on study of Adult Stem Cell
5. Study on obesity and heart failure
6. National Lung Study in the process
7. Marijuana gateway theory strengthened by study of twins
8. Old theory of adaptation confirmed by new study
9. Study casts doubt on keyboard ills
10. Gene study links endometriosis, infertility
11. Study reveals how stress can make you sick
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today ... submit their products through an arduous federal approval process. The rules, which treat ... market since February 15, 2007. That would essentially ban 99 percent of all ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... , ... This weekend, from Friday, May 6 - Sunday, May 8, fifteen elite athletes from ... Team Semper Fi Mountain Bike Camp, hosted in conjunction with WTB and ... and Jason Moeschler, who’ll share pro tips with the injured veterans as they rip down ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... LELO has discovered many people ... fans reach out via email, social media and on the Volonté blog seeking advice ... way I masturbate ‘normal’ or ‘correct’?” , While some methods are more common than ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... in all U.S. states and certain Canadian provinces is now available from the ... Research Institute (WCRI). , The report, Workers’ Compensation Laws as of ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Long Island’s fastest growing comprehensive eye care provider, ... surgeon, Kathleen Van Valkenburg, MD as part of their ongoing effort to increase ophthalmic ... and managing partner of North Shore Eye Care. , “We are extremely proud ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... 2016 Research and ... Actinic Keratosis Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) ... Landscape Highlights 2016, provides comprehensive insights into ... Actinic Keratosis market valuations and forecast, Actinic ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 4, 2016 Global Insulin ... profiling 09 key companies and supported with 272 ... in-depth study on the current state of the ... the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry ... provided for the international market including development history, ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... Outlook 2020" report to their offering. ... has improved significantly in past years due to which ... years. Many cancer drugs have been developed by utilization ... expected to be developed with its help. They are ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: