Article Abstract

Specificity of problem-solving skills training in mothers of children newly diagnosed with cancer: a commentary on the Bright IDEAS program

Authors: Ursula M. Sansom-Daly


The diagnosis of cancer in a child is an acutely stressful event for both the child and their parents, and severely challenges the coping skills of the family unit (1). Evidence indicates that parents of a child with cancer are at risk of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms, as well as a poorer quality of life (1-3). Poor coping among parents at this time can impact not only the adaptation of the child with cancer, but also their siblings. Evidence suggests that parental stress may jeopardize parents’ capacity to provide the ‘secure base’ that is needed to buffer their children against the stress of the cancer treatment period (4,5). Left unaddressed, such parental distress can lead to both greater distress in the child with cancer (6), healthy siblings (7,8), and ongoing negative parent-child interactions even once their child’s cure has been achieved (9-11).