How parents cope with their child's diagnosis and treatment of an embryonal tumor: results of a prospective and longitudinal study


Journal Article

The current study reports longitudinal coping responses among parents of children diagnosed with an embryonal brain tumor. Patients (n = 219) were enrolled on a treatment protocol for a pediatric embryonal brain tumor. Their parents (n = 251) completed the Coping Response Inventory at time of their child's diagnosis and yearly thereafter, resulting in 502 observations. Outcomes were examined with patient and parent age at diagnosis, patient risk, parent gender and education as covariates. At the time of diagnosis, the highest observed coping method was seeking guidance with well above average scores (T = 61.6). Over time, younger parents were found to seek guidance at a significantly higher rate than older parents (P = .016) and the use of acceptance resignation and seeking alternative results by all parents significantly increased (P = .011 and P  <  .0001 respectively). The use of emotional discharge was also observed above average at time of diagnosis (T = 55.4) with younger fathers being more likely to exhibit emotional discharge than older fathers (P = .002). Differences in coping according to age of the patient and parent education level are also discussed. Results show a high need for guidance, and above average emotional discharge, especially among younger parents. It is imperative for the healthcare team to lead with accurate information so that these parents may make informed decisions about the care of their child. This need remains high years after diagnosis. Therefore it is critical to continue a consistent level of effective communication and support, even following treatment. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Palmer, SL; Lesh, S; Wallace, D; Bonner, MJ; Swain, M; Chapieski, L; Janzen, L; Mabbott, D; Knight, S; Boyle, R; Armstrong, CL; Gajjar, A

Published Date

  • April 20, 2011

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 7

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-7373

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0167-594X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11060-011-0574-9

Citation Source

  • Scopus