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Family Communication and Psychological Health in Children and Adolescents Following a Parent's Death From Cancer.
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2786-1997
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC. Capio palliativ vård Dalen.
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC. Karolinska institutet.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8185-781X
Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Department of Health Care Sciences, Palliative Research Centre, PRC. Uppsala universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5523-8126
2019 (English)In: Omega, ISSN 0030-2228, E-ISSN 1541-3764, article id 30222819859965Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Parentally bereaved children and adolescents are at risk of developing psychological health problems. Evidence for a correlation between communication and broad measures of psychological health exists in other populations. The aim of this study was to examine associations between family communication and specific aspects of psychological health for children and adolescents following a parent’s death from cancer using parent-proxy and adolescent self-reports. Parent-proxy reports for children and adolescents, and adolescent self-reports for Parent–Adolescent Communication, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and Prolonged Grief-13 child were analyzed using descriptive statistics and Spearman’s correlation. Parents rated communication as moderate in quality and reported good psychological health for children and adolescents. Adolescent self-reports indicated low-quality communication with their parent and poor psychological health. Significant associations between Parent–Adolescent Communication subscales and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire subscales were found for each group. Prolonged grief was associated with emotional problems but not communication for all three groups.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. article id 30222819859965
Keywords [en]
childhood bereavement, externalizing problems, family communication, internalizing problems, prolonged grief
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-7687DOI: 10.1177/0030222819859965PubMedID: 31256707OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-7687DiVA, id: diva2:1344185
Available from: 2019-08-20 Created: 2019-08-20 Last updated: 2020-02-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Development and Evaluation of the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention for Parentally Bereaved Families in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Development and Evaluation of the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention for Parentally Bereaved Families in Sweden
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Each year in Sweden, approximately 6,900 children will have a parent diagnosed with cancer. Of all the children in Sweden born between 1990–1992, 5.6% have a parent with cancer and 1.1% of them have already had a parent die from cancer. Bereavement support is an important component in palliative care, which aims to alleviate the physical, psychological, and spiritual suffering of patients and their family members. Several, but not all families participating in the studies in this thesis came from a palliative care setting. Earlier research has shown that parentally bereaved children often experience psychological problems, physical problems, reduced self-esteem, difficulties communicating,school and behavioral problems, and/or complicated grief, with approximately 10% of parentally bereaved children experiencing some type of clinically significant psychological difficulty. Moreover, a child’s response to a parent’s death is often mediated by how their surviving parent responds to the loss. Still, support for bereaved children and families is limited in Sweden. The overall aim of this research project was to explore and describe psychological health, grief, and family communication among parentally bereaved children and surviving parents and to develop and evaluate a supportive family intervention. Four studies were conducted including an interview study exploring family communication in parentally bereaved families, a questionnaire study examining associations between family communication and psychological health in parentally bereaved children and adolescents, and the adaptation and evaluation of the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention. Results from these four studies indicated that communication may be an important factor for adjustment following the death of a parent. Specifically, communication in some parentally bereaved families may involve conflict, which may in turn affect child and adolescent psychological health. Results from testing the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention indicate that it may improve family communication and relationships. Testing the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention with larger, more diverse samples is necessary to confirm these results. The results imply that helping families find ways to adjust and adapt in healthy ways following the death of a parent, potentially through the Grief and Communication Family Support Intervention, is likely to improve psychological health and communication among bereaved family members.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Ersta Sköndal Bräcke högskola, 2020. p. 107
Series
Avhandlingsserie inom området Människan i välfärdssamhället, ISSN 2003-3699 ; 2
Keywords
Children, Parental Bereavement, Family Communication, Psychological Health
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
The Individual in the Welfare Society, Palliative Care
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-7956 (URN)978-91-985808-0-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-02-21, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-01-28 Created: 2020-01-22 Last updated: 2020-02-20Bibliographically approved

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