Posttraumatic Growth and Adverse Long-Term Effects of Parental Cancer in Children

Melisa L. Wong, Courtenay E. Cavanaugh, Jennifer B. MacLeamy, Athena Sojourner-Nelson, Cheryl Koopman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This study examined the long-term impact of parental cancer during childhood. Nineteen female and 8 male adults who had a parent with terminal or nonterminal cancer during childhood participated in face-to-face interviews during which they discussed how their parent's cancer affected their lives. Their interview responses were transcribed and analyzed using a constant comparative method of analysis. Posttraumatic growth experiences were reported by 44% of participants, and 59% reported adverse consequences. Future research should examine ways to identify factors that can help affected children experience posttraumatic growth while minimizing the adverse consequences of having a parent with cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalFamilies, Systems and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • cancer
  • child
  • parent
  • posttraumatic growth
  • qualitative

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