"There is still so much ahead of us"-family functioning in families of palliative cancer patients


Adopting a systems approach, parental cancer has its impact on patients, spouses, and dependent children. The purpose of the current study was to examine family functioning dependent on parental disease stage and on family member perspective in families of cancer patients with adolescent children. The cross-sectional study was conducted within a German multisite research project of families before their first child-centered counseling encounter. The sample comprised individuals nested within N = 169 families. Analyses performed included analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and intraclass correlation. Open answers were analyzed following quantitative content analysis procedures. Between 15% and 36% of family members reported dysfunctional general functioning scores. Parents indicated more dysfunctional scores on the Family Assessment Device scale Roles, and adolescents more dysfunctional Communication scores. Regarding assessment of family functioning, there was higher agreement in families with parents in a palliative situation. For adolescents with parents in palliation, incidents because of the disease tend to become more dominant, and spending time with the family tends to become even more important. As our study pointed out, parental cancer, and especially parental palliative disease, is associated with both perceived critical and positive aspects in family functioning. Supporting families in these concerns as well as encouraging perceptions of positive aspects are important components of psycho-oncological interventions for families with dependent children.

Bibliografische Daten

StatusVeröffentlicht - 01.06.2013
PubMed 23795629