Childhood Cancer: Differential Effects on the Family Members

Publication Date

Winter 1993

Document Type



The purpose of this study was to describe individual, dyadic, and family responses to childhood cancer and related current-life stresses, self-esteem issues, marital satisfaction, and perceptions of family environments. A descriptive, correlational design was used with 20 families who had at least one well child and one child with cancer. Parents and children were asked to create drawings using a projective drawing technique called Kinetic Family Drawings (KFDs), then these drawings were compared with norms on the following quantitative measures: Schedule of Recent Experiences, Life Events Scale for Adolescents and Life Events Scale for Children, Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventory, Dyadic Adjustment Scale, and the Family Environment Scale. Results supported a need to evaluate each family member's individual responses to childhood cancer, given the importance of the family as a social environment for children. Results revealed an informative and, at times, varied profile across instruments and family members in the areas of adjustment, life stresses, self-esteem, marital satisfaction, and views of the family environment. For example, mothers reported significantly lower self-esteem than fathers. Yet, with the KFD, no significant differences on scores were found between family members.

Publication Title

Oncology Nursing Forum





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