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Enhancing Coping and Communication in Children with Cancer and Their Parents: A Novel Internet-Based Intervention

I. Abstract Childhood cancer patients and their parents are faced with significant stress at the time of diagnosis, during treatment, and over the course of recovery that place children and parents at increased risk for elevated symptoms of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress (PTSS). Despite the high priority for effective and accessible interventions to increase resilience in children and parents, most families do not have access to evidence-based psychosocial interventions. The proposed work will address this gap by completing the programming and testing of the initial efficacy, mediators, and moderators of a novel internet delivered intervention that uniquely targets coping and communication skills in children with cancer and their parents using an engaging, interactive format. The research team includes experts from Vanderbilt University, University of Washington, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital with exceptional experience in pediatric oncology; stress, coping, and family communication in pediatric cancer; internet interventions in pediatric populations; and family-focused interventions to build coping and parenting skills. Final programming of the internet intervention will be completed during the initial 6 months. In years 1.5 through 3 we will conduct a randomized clinical trial (n = 150 families) to test initial efficacy of the intervention at post-intervention (8 weeks) and 6-month follow-up including hypothesized mediators (child and parent coping and communication) and key outcomes (parent and child depression, anxiety, PTSS). This project has the potential to lead to an evidence-based program to improve quality of life and resilience in children with cancer and their parents that can be easily and widely disseminated.

Grantor: Alex

Expected completion date: 1/14/2020

Project or Grant: Project
Date Span: January 15, 2017 to January 14, 2020
Principal Investigators: Bruce Compas
Academic Department: Psychology and Human Development



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