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Symptom Occurrence and Severity on the Therapy-Related Symptom Checklist for Children Among Hispanic Pediatric Oncology Outpatients

Williams, Phoebe D. PhD, RN, FAAN; Robinson, Jane MSN, APRN-C; Williams, Arthur R. PhD, MA, MPA

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e3182948438
Articles: Online Only

Background: A calibrated easy-to-use symptom checklist for children who are under treatment for cancer had been developed and reported in Cancer Nursing. The 30-item Therapy-Related Symptom Checklist for Children (TRSC-C) has good measurement and psychometric properties and uses “kid-friendly” terms to monitor symptom occurrence and severity during oncology treatment. A secondary analysis is reported using participants who self-identified as Hispanic.

Objective: The objective of this study was to examine among Hispanic pediatric oncology outpatients (a) occurrence and (b) severity of symptoms reported on the TRSC-C, (c) relationships of symptoms to gender and age (<12 vs ≥12), and (d) differences in summated TRSC-C symptom scores between patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and other diagnoses.

Method: This was a cross-sectional analysis using secondary data and descriptive statistics.

Sample: The sample was composed of 79 children (55% male) aged 5 to 17 years (mean, 10.3 years) with diagnosis of ALL (52%) or other (48%). Instrument used was TRSC-C by patient/parent report (Cronbach’s α = .91).

Results: (a) Symptom occurrence: 15 symptoms on the TRSC-C were reported by 40% or greater. (b) Severity means on 11 symptoms were greater than “a little bit.” (c) No gender or age differences were found on mean TRSC-C summated scores. (d) Mean TRSC-C scores (symptom occurrence and severity) were slightly lower but not significantly different (t = 1.71) between ALL (13.71 [SD, 8.06]) and other diagnoses (15.71 [SD, 7.01]).

Conclusion: Symptom occurrence and severity reported on the TRSC-C by this Hispanic subsample are consistent with findings in the calibration study and with those of another Hispanic group and other ethnicities.

Implications for Practice: Use of the TRSC-C is appropriate during pediatric oncology treatment and diagnoses of Hispanic populations.

Author Affiliations: School of Nursing, University of Kansas, Kansas City (Dr P. Williams and Ms Robinson); School of Nursing, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas (Ms Robinson); and Department of Health Policy & Management, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa (Dr A. Williams).

The secondary analysis reported in this study used data originally gathered for the calibration study reported in 2012 in Cancer Nursing by Williams et al (Cancer Nurs. 2012;35(2):89–98).

Funding for the calibration study was awarded in 2009–2010 through a Nursing Grant to P.D.W. by the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Phoebe D. Williams, PhD, RN, FAAN, School of Nursing, University of Kansas, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, Mail Stop 4043, Kansas City, KS 66160 (

Accepted for publication March 21, 2013.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins