Thursday, July 12, 2007
A Comparison of emotional/behavioral problems between Taiwanese children with cancer and healthy controls
|Learning Objective #1: 1. acquire knowledge about school children with cancer in Taiwan that they have more emotional/behavioral problems than their peers.|
|Learning Objective #2: 2.enhance skills to promote collaboration in clinical practice in Taiwanese pediatric oncology that children need more psychosocial care.|
Aims. The purpose of this study was to compare children diagnosed with cancer, who were attending school, with their healthy peers on emotional and behavioral problems.
Background. Children who suffered from cancer experience severe side effects from their treatment protocols and from the uncertainty associated with their disease. We were seeking to find out if these children subsequently experienced more emotional and behavioral problems than their healthy peers.
Methods. Parents and teachers of pediatric oncology patients and their healthy schoolmates were recruited. The ratio was one patient to two schoolmates. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) was used to collect data from the parents and teachers of 23 pediatric cancer patients and 46 healthy controls. Children were matched on enrollment in the same grade and socioeconomic status of their families. Paired-t tests were used to compare the differences between the emotional/behavioral scores of both groups of children.
Results. The findings of the study indicated that children with cancer had statistically higher scores on the following items of the CBCL: Withdrawn/Depressed, Somatic complaints, Social problems, Thought problems, Hyperactivity/Impulsivity, Rule-Breaking behaviors and Aggressive behaviors.
Conclusions. School children with cancer in Taiwan did have more emotional/behavioral problems than their peers. Findings from this study suggest that Taiwanese pediatric oncology patients who are able to return to school and their families may need more psychosocial care.
Relevance to clinical practice. Health care professionals may need to extend their professional services to school settings to decrease long-term emotional and behavioral problems in children with cancer.