Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Kristoffer S Berlin
Kathryn H Howell
Little research has examined the heterogeneity of patterns of emotional adjustment for a pediatric oncology population, nor is the nature of peer relations for youth’s adjustment to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer well understood. To address these gaps in the literature the adjustment of 279 youth (cancer group, n = 156, control group, n = 123), each with one parent, and one teacher, was evaluated. Youth completed measures of posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic growth, and perceived positive changes. Youth, parents, and teachers reported on youth’s peer relations. Latent profile analysis revealed three profiles. The majority of youth (42.1%) fell into a “resilient-high-growth” profile, which was characterized by low distress and perceptions of positive change/growth. Approximately one fifth (21.4%) of youth fell into a “resilient-low-growth profile,” described by low levels of both distress and positive growth/change. The remainder of youth (36.5%) fell into a “mildly-distress-with-growth” profile; those youth experienced mild distress and positive growth. Youth’s peer relations, demographic factors, and disease-related factors predicted assignment to profiles. Interactions between group status (cancer vs. healthy comparison) and peer related factors were not statistically significant for predicting adjustment profiles. The lack of significant interactions between group status and peer relations for predicting profile adjustment class suggests that peer relations function similarly for promoting adjustment across cancer and healthy comparison groups. The present findings highlight that, similar to findings with non-oncology populations, peer relations serve an important role in youth’s adjustment to stressful life events.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Tillery, Rachel N., "Youth's Adjustment to Cancer: Examination of Patterns of Adjustment and the Role of Peers" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1339.