Treating Persistent Distress and Anxiety in Parents of Children with Cancer: An Initial Feasibility Trial

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Persistent anxiety is common among parents of children with cancer and may affect the family's well-being and adjustment. The goals of this pilot study are to determine the feasibility and potential efficacy of a brief cognitive-behavioral parent intervention aimed at reducing parental distress and anxiety related to their child's cancer diagnosis. Parents of children with cancer, least 1 month postdiagnosis, were screened at an outpatient oncology clinic, and those reporting elevated levels of distress were offered a 4-session cognitive-behavioral intervention based on a modified version of the Surviving Cancer Competently Intervention Program-Newly Diagnosed. Five parents reporting persistent distress received the intervention. Results revealed decreases in parents' distress, state anxiety, and depressive symptoms, well as in parents' feelings of burden associated with their children's cancer. This initial study suggests that identification of parents with prolonged heightened psychological distress is feasible and acceptable and that offering them a brief intervention within a pediatric oncology setting may be beneficial.



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