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Benefit finding in survivors of childhood cancer and their parents: further empirical support for the Benefit Finding Scale for Children

Publication year
Michel, G.; Taylor, N.; Absolom, K.; Eiser, C.

BACKGROUND: Diagnosis of a life-threatening condition has been linked to post-traumatic stress. However, only recently has it been acknowledged that positive outcomes including post-traumatic growth or benefit finding may also occur. The aim of our study was to extend previous work describing benefit finding among survivors of childhood cancer, by determining the contribution of demographic and medical variables and associations between child benefit finding and parent post-traumatic growth. METHODS: Survivors of any child cancer (leukaemia, central nervous system or solid tumour; age 12-15 years; completed treatment >2 years) were recruited from routine follow-up clinics and asked to complete questionnaires [Benefit Finding Scale for Children (BFSC), quality of life (QOL), post-traumatic stress (PTS), illness perception and optimism]. Parents completed parallel measures to describe their own post-traumatic growth (PTG), QOL, PTS and illness perception. RESULTS: Forty-eight survivors and parents completed questionnaires (response rate: 81%). The BFSC showed good internal reliability (alpha = 0.91). Diagnosis of leukaemia, greater optimism and reports that the illness still affects their life today were associated with higher scores on the BFSC among survivors themselves. For parents, perceptions of how much the illness still affects them emotionally was associated with PTG. There was no association between children’s benefit finding and parents’ PTG. CONCLUSIONS: The BFSC is a useful and reliable instrument to assess positive outcomes after cancer in children. The extent to which survivors are optimistic and perceive on-going effects of the illness on their daily lives is significantly associated with the ability to find benefit after end of treatment.

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