Objectives The study aimed to compare the quality of life (QoL) among cancer-bereaved parents with a control group and explore how resilience and support from healthcare professionals associated with QoL of parents 2–8 years after the loss of a child to cancer.
Methods This nationwide, cross-sectional survey was administered among parents (n=161) who lost their child to cancer between 2009 and 2014, compared with a matched control parent group (n=77). A study-specific questionnaire, Resilience Scale for Adults (six factors: ‘Perception of self’, ‘Planned future’, ‘Social competence’, ‘Structured style’, ‘Family cohesion’ and ‘Social resources’), and a single-item measure of parents’ QoL were included for the study.
Results There was a lower QoL in both bereaved parents (mean=5.1) compared with the control parents (mean=5.8) (p<0.001). Two resilience factors, ‘Perception of self’ (OR=1.8, p=0.004) and ‘Planned future’ (OR=2.05, p<0.001), and given sufficient information during the child’s last month (OR=2.63, p=0.003) were positively associated with long-term QoL in cancer-bereaved parents.
Conclusion The findings indicate lower QoL among both fathers and mothers 2–8 years after losing a child to cancer. The study also highlights the positive role of resilience and the importance of informational support on long-term QoL in cancer-bereaved parents. Bereavement support should be tailored for supporting individual needs.
- supportive care
- quality of life
- psychological care
- family management
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request. The dataset used for analysis is available from the corresponding author upon request.
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Contributors HKV and MEE designed the study. HKV collected the data. OR performed statistical analyses and wrote the original draft. HKV, AEW, OH, TR, UKM, BL and MEE performed critical revisions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of this manuscript and were involved in data interpretation. OR is the guarantor for this study.
Funding This study was funded by the Research Council of Norway (grant number 238331), the Norwegian Childhood Cancer Society and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Disclaimer The funders had no role in study design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish or manuscript preparation.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.