Impact of Caring for a Child With Cancer on Parents’ Health-Related Quality of Life
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PURPOSE: To compare the health-related quality of life (QOL) of parents of children who are undergoing treatment for cancer with that of Canadian population norms and to identify important parent and child predictors of parental QOL. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 411 respondents of 513 eligible parents were recruited from five pediatric oncology centers in Canada between November 2004 and February 2007. Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire booklet that included a measure of adult QOL (SF-36), a measure of child health status (functional status IIR), and questions to assess health-promoting self-care actions (eg, sleep, diet, and exercise habits) and characteristics of the child with cancer (eg, relapse status, time since diagnosis, prognosis, treatment intensity). RESULTS: Compared with population norms, parents of children with cancer reported poorer physical and psychosocial QOL in all psychosocial domains (effect sizes range, -0.71 to -1.58) and in most physical health domains (effect sizes range, -0.08 to -0.63). Parent characteristics associated with better parental QOL included better eating, exercise and sleep habits, younger age, and higher income. Child characteristics associated with better parental QOL included better child health status (functional status IIR scores), lower treatment intensity, and longer time since diagnosis. CONCLUSION: Parents of children with cancer report poorer QOL compared with population norms. Interventions directed at parents should be included as part of the treatment plan for a child with cancer. Modifiable variables associated with poorer parental QOL, such as sleep quality and diet and exercise habits, indicate those parents most likely to experience poor QOL and may be potential areas for intervention.
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