Abstract—Introduction: Diagnosis of cancer in children poses a challenging situation for parents to cope with. Method: Seventy-nine (N = 79) parents whose children are receiving treatment for cancer in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia participated in this cross-sectional descriptive study. They completed a set questionnaire measuring their level of anxiety and stress, knowledge about cancer, and amount of activities they perform with or for the child to enhance the child’s coping abilities, in addition to children’s psychological problems. Socio-demographic information was obtained. Results: Parents with higher cancer knowledge reported reduced stress (p<0.01) and anxiety (p<0.05). The higher the income (p<0.05) and education (p<0.01), the higher cancer knowledge. Parental stress was negatively correlated with income (p<0.05) and education (p<0.01), indicating that the better educated and higher the salary, less stress symptoms. Highly educated parents engaged in more activities with their children (p<0.05). Parental anxiety was correlated significantly with children’s current treatment including chemotherapy procedure (p<0.01), ‘In-patient’ Vs ‘Outpatient’ (p<0.01), and children’s condition (p<0.01). Parents of hospitalized children who underwent chemotherapy were significantly more anxious than their counterparts. Parents who perceived their children’s current condition as ‘very good’, reported reduced anxiety, compared to those who reported their child’s condition as ‘ok’. The more psychological problems the children had, the higher parental anxiety (p<0.05) and stress symptoms (p<0.01). Discussion: Some groups of parents reported more psychological difficulties compared to others. Ongoing psychological assessment and intervention may reduce parental stress by increasing coping and reducing children psychological problems.
—cancer, children, parental knowledge, stress
Azizah Othman, Norsarwany Mohamad, and Zabidi Azhar Hussin, Department of Pediatrics, UNIVERSITI SAINS MALAYSIA
Sarah Blunden, Centre for Sleep Research, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Cite: Azizah Othman, Norsarwany Mohamad, Zabidi Azhar Hussin, and Sarah Blunden, "Psychological Distress and Associated Factors in Parents of Children with Cancer," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity
vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 37-42, 2011.