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Family Functioning and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors and Their Families: A Dyadic Analytic Approach

Journal title
Journal of pediatric psychology
Publication year
2016
Author(s)
Gutierrez-Colina, A. M.; Lee, J. L.; VanDellen, M.; Mertens, A.; Marchak, J. G.

OBJECTIVE: To examine dyadic relationships between depressive symptoms and family functioning in families of pediatric cancer survivors. METHODS: Sixty-four adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors and their caregivers self-reported on depressive symptoms and family functioning. Multilevel modeling analyses were used to test actor-partner interdependence models. RESULTS: Significant actor effects of depressive symptoms on domains of family functioning were found for AYAs and their caregivers. Only caregivers’ depressive symptoms exerted a significant effect on AYAs’ report of family cohesion, indicating the presence of significant partner effects for AYAs. CONCLUSIONS: AYAs’ and caregivers’ depressive symptoms are related to poorer family functioning. Caregivers’ perceptions of depressive symptoms relate not only to their own perceptions of family functioning but also to that of their children. These findings begin to map the complex relationships that exist between AYAs and their caregivers and elucidate some of the mechanisms through which caregiver-related variables affect AYA outcomes.

Research abstracts