Daily mood profiles and psychosocial adjustment in youth with newly diagnosed cancer and healthy peers


Objective: A new cancer diagnosis leads to many daily changes in the lives of youth. We aimed to determine how short-term emotion dynamics relate to psychosocial adjustment over time in youth with newly diagnosed cancer and healthy peers. Methods: Youth with newly diagnosed cancer (n = 71, weeks since diagnosis: M = 6.56, SD = 1.94) and age-matched controls (n = 63), aged 8-17 years, reported on their daily mood across the week (T1). Two to 4 months later (T2), youth reported on perceived parental care and overprotection, anxiety, and quality of life. Primary caregivers reported on youth's externalizing and internalizing problems and on parental distress. Latent profile analysis (LPA) was conducted to identify individual daily mood profiles at T1. These profiles were used to predict adjustment at T2, controlling for sociodemographic factors and looking at differences between cancer patients and comparisons. Results: LPA revealed 4 daily mood profiles: stable positive mood (SPM, 61.6%), stable negative mood (SNM, 4.8%), intermediate mood (27.6%), and fluctuating negative mood (FNM, 6%). No sociodemographic or cancer/comparison differences were found across mood profiles. Results showed several relations between mood profiles across the week and adjustment outcomes at T2. Overall, a SPM related to favorable adjustment outcomes, whereas a SNM related to less favorable adjustment. Compared to an FNM, SNM demonstrated less youth-reported perceived parental care (p = .02) and higher youth-reported anxiety (p = .05). Conclusions: Most children show healthy emotions during treatment for cancer. Close monitoring of mood during treatment is important to identify youth at risk for adverse psychosocial adjustment outcomes over time.

Publication Title

Health Psychology