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The Effects on Children’s Anxiety and Quality of Life of a Psychoeducational Program for Families Living With Parental Cancer and Their Network

A Randomized Controlled Trial Study

Hauken, May Aasebø PhD, RN; Pereira, Mariana PhD; Senneseth, Mette PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000529

Background: Families living with parental cancer report lack of social support. The Cancer PEPSONE Program (CPP) was developed to bridge the gap between the families and their network.

Objective: The aims of this study were to study the effect of the CPP on children’s anxiety and quality of life (QOL) and examine the association between the CPP’s effect on their well parents’ received social support, QOL, and psychological distress and the children’s anxiety and QOL.

Methods: The CPP, a psychoeducational program for the families and their social network, was evaluated using a randomized controlled trial design. The children and their well parents completed questionnaires measuring QOL, psychological distress, and social support at baseline and after 3 and 6 months.

Results: Thirty-five families were enrolled (18 intervention, 17 controls). The CPP stabilized the children’s family function, although the family function largely (d = 0.86) decreased in the control group (P = .018). No significant effects were found on anxiety, overall QOL, or QOL subdimensions. Significant correlations were documented between the children’s levels of anxiety and the well parents’ received social support (r = −0.196, P < .001), QOL (r = −0.138, P < .05), and psychological distress (r = 0.166, P < .05).

Conclusions: The CPP seems to stabilize the children's perceived family function but did not target the other outcomes. Further studies with larger samples are needed.

Implications for Clinical Practice: Optimizing social network for families living with parental cancer may support the family’s function. Actions should be initiated to increase the well parents’ social support, QOL, and psychological distress, which may also benefit the children.

Author Affiliation: Center for Crisis Psychology, Bergen, Norway.

The study was founded by the Research Council of Norway (grant number 213049/H10) and the Norwegian Directorate of Health (grant number 12/9763-1).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: May Aasebø Hauken, PhD, RN, Center for Crisis Psychology, Fortunen 7, 5020 Bergen, Norway (

Accepted for publication June 2, 2017.

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