• Maternal coping with childhood cancer

      Han, Hae-Ra; Belcher, Anne E. (2000)
      Although many researchers have demonstrated that childhood cancer has a major psychological impact on the lives of the stricken individual and the family, there are significant gaps in parental coping research due to a number of conceptual as well as methodological issues including cultural variations. The purpose of this study was to enhance the understanding of the psychosocial experiences of Korean mothers who have a child diagnosed as having cancer. A correlational cross-sectional design was employed to identify significant factors that influence coping with childhood cancer and coping outcomes in Korean mothers. A total of 200 Korean mothers of children with cancer participated in this study. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, the Pearson product moment correlations, t-tests, multiple regressions, and path analyses. The questionnaires consisted of Family Inventory of Life Events and Changes (FILE), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Coping Health Inventory for Parents (CHIP), Personal Resource Questionnaire (PRQ), Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness Scale (PAIS), and selected demographic and illness-related questions. Psychometric tests showed that all of the instruments met the reliability and construct validity criteria for mature scales with the exception of CHIP and PRQ. The respective three- and single-factor structures of CHIP and PRQ were not supported in this sample, when the confirmatory factor analysis approach was used. The results of this study identified several factors that significantly influence maternal coping and adjustment. One of the important findings is the association of a pile-up of events with maternal coping and adjustment, which has not been empirically validated in parents of children with cancer. Although the moderating effect was not supported, the significant role of social support in mitigating the potential for psychosocial problems and in facilitating coping was substantiated by testing the direct effect. While previous psychosocial research involving an American sample has reported the appropriateness of the stress-coping framework in explaining parental responses to childhood chronic diseases such as cancer, this study confirms the usefulness of the stress-coping approach with a sample of Korean mothers. Future research efforts will include a variety of cultural groups addressing gaps in current coping research in parents of children with cancer.