Childhood Cancer

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Psychosocial Functioning of Siblings of Children with Cancer: A Qualitative Comparison of Parent and Sibling Report

Boston University
Emily Pariseau
Grant Type: 
POST Program Grants
Year Awarded: 
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
General Pediatric Cancer
Project Description: 


A pediatric cancer diagnosis impacts the entire family, however, siblings of children with cancer are often overlooked. Despite the lack of clinical attention, some siblings report symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. However, many siblings show resilience. Assessment of sibling psychosocial functioning is crucial in order to identify siblings that are in need of additional support. 

Parent-child dyads commonly disagree when reporting on child functioning. This trend has been observed between siblings of children with cancer and their parents through quantitative measures, however, has not been examined from a qualitative perspective. Research is necessary to understand whether parents and siblings of children with cancer consistently disagree in their report of sibling functioning and to understand trends underlying this disagreement. Findings will provide valuable information to inform sibling assessment, such as if relying on parent-report may be resulting in an inaccurate representation of how siblings are functioning. 

Project Goal

The proposed study will investigate through qualitative methods whether siblings of children with cancer and their parents are consistent in their report of sibling functioning. We have collected qualitative data from siblings and parents through a previously funded ALSF project, putting us in a unique position to compare sibling and parent report, which does not yet exist in the literature. The main aspects of the proposed project are (1) a review of literature relating to parent and child report of psychosocial functioning, (2) qualitative analysis of sibling and parent concordance and (3) manuscript preparation and dissemination of findings emphasizing implications for sibling assessment.

Co-funded by: 
Love Your Melon