Parent-child communication about the cancer experience in families of pediatric cancer patients
Examined in 35 parent-child dyads how parents and their children receiving treatment for cancer perceive their parent-child communication about the cancer experience, how demographic/social/medical variables relate to the communication, and how the communication relates to child, parent, and family functioning. Patterns of communication are described for various aspects of communication. Parents and children were found to be more open than closed and more frequent than infrequent in their communication. Differences between informational and emotional communication were found, suggesting parents and children do distinguish between these two types of communication. Few differences were evident between children's styles and parents' styles of communication and between child report and parent report of communication, suggesting considerable congruence within dyads and across reporters. Demographic variables did not relate to communication; social variables showed primary relationships with emotional communication and medical variables showed primary relationships with informational communication. Openness and frequency of communication accounted for significant variance in family functioning and in social functioning but showed surprisingly little relationship with individual functioning. Results underscore the clinical importance of communication and effects of the aspect examined, reporter, and subject person on communication. Clinical implications and future directions for further study of communication about the cancer experience are discussed.
- Psychology