Fathers of Children with Cancer: Involvement, Coping, and Adjustment

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Introduction: This study examined the role of fathers caring for children with cancer. Psychological adjustment, coping, and work patterns of mothers and fathers were described. Method: Twenty fathers of children with cancer were compared with 20 mothers of children with cancer and 20 control fathers of healthy children. Questionnaire data were collected regarding coping, parental adjustment, child adjustment, and family involvement. Results: Fathers did not differ from mothers or control fathers in terms of psychological adjustment or coping. However, fathers of children with cancer spent more hours at work and more hours caring for children than did control fathers. Paternal adjustment was significantly related to child adjustment only when the child had cancer. Coping was related to work outside the home for fathers and adjustment for mothers. Discussion: Models of family adaptation may be different for fathers and mothers. Treatment teams must attend to the unique needs of fathers. © 2008 National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.



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