Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

Predicting parenting stress in caregivers of children with brain tumours

Journal title
Psycho-oncology
Publication year
2013
Author(s)
Bennett, E.; English, M. W.; Rennoldson, M.; Starza-Smith, A.
Pages
629-36
Volume
22
Number
3

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study was to identify factors that contribute to parenting stress in caregivers of children diagnosed with brain tumours. METHODS: The study was cross-sectional and recruited 37 participants from a clinical database at a specialist children’s hospital. Parents were sent questionnaires, which were used to measure factors related to stress in caregivers of children diagnosed with a brain tumour. Stress levels were measured using the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form (PSI/SF). Correlation analysis and multiple linear regression were used to examine the associations between parenting stress and coping styles, locus of control, parent-perceived child disability and time since diagnosis. RESULTS: Results revealed that 51% of parents were experiencing clinically significant levels of stress. The mean stress level of parents in the study was significantly higher than the PSI/SF norms (t = 4.7, p < .001). Regression analysis revealed that external locus of control and coping by accepting responsibility accounted for 67% of the variance in parenting stress. Other styles of coping, child behaviour problems and the amount of time since diagnosis were not found to be predictive of levels of parenting stress. CONCLUSIONS: There was a high prevalence of parenting stress in caregivers of children with a brain tumour. An external locus of control and coping by accepting responsibility increased the likelihood of elevated levels of stress. Results emphasised the importance of ongoing support for parents of children with brain tumours. Intervention might helpfully be centred on strategies to increase parents' internal locus of control.

Research abstracts