09 Oct Teenagers: What are the Psychosocial Problems if Parent has Cancer?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Elisabeth Jeppesen MPH, PhD-fellow
National Resource Center for Late Effects after Cancer Treatment, Department of Oncology, Oslo University, Hospital, The Norwegian Radiumhospitalet, Oslo, Norway
mobil +47 951 05271 Wisit: Ullernchaussen 70 (Radiumhospitalet)
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background of this study?
Answer: Each year a considerable number of parents with children younger than 18 years of age are affected by cancer in a parent. Cancer in one of the parents might represent a potentially traumatic event and thereby may be a risk factor for psychosocial problems in the offspring. So far, teenagers’ psychosocial responses to parental cancer have only been studied to a limited extent in controlled trials. Using a trauma theory perspective many studies have shown significant direct associations between parental cancer and psychosocial problems in teenagers. However, the literature also indicates that most children and teenagers have normal stress reactions to such events. In order to identify the need for eventual prevention and intervention among teenagers exposed to such a stressor, we need more empirical knowledge of their psychosocial situation.
MedicalResearch.com: Where are the main findings of this report?
Answer: In this population-based study, we found no significant differences concerning psychosocial problems between teenagers with parental cancer and their matched controls. We only found one sex differences in eating problems between case and control sons that eventually could be specific for having a parent with cancer.
Our hypothesis of a higher prevalence of psychosocial problems among teenagers with parents with cancer was not supported.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from this study?
Answer:For clinicians, our findings indicate that psychosocial problems among teenagers affected by parental cancer are best assessed broadly including general risk factors.
Case and control teenagers showed the same level of distress. According to the resilience theory the potentially traumatic events of parental cancer is within teenagers’ coping capacity, and therefore on the group level do not result in longstanding psychosocial problems in teenagers.