Youth's Adjustment to Cancer: Examination of Patterns of Adjustment and the Role of Peer Relations


Objective Examine unique forms of peer relations (i.e., peer group vs. friendships) in relation to patterns of youth's resilience and challenge-related growth in the context of cancer. Methods In all, 279 youth (cancer, n=156; control, n=123) completed measures of posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic growth (PTG), and perceived positive changes. Youth also reported on their peer relations. Latent profile analysis (LPA) was used to examine patterns of youth's adjustment. Peer relations were examined as predictors of youth's adjustment. Results LPA revealed three profiles (42.1% resilient high growth, 21.4% resilient low growth, and 36.5% mild distress with growth). Youth's peer relations, demographic factors, and disease-related factors predicted assignment to profiles. Differences in adjustment emerged depending on youth's connection with their peers versus their friends. Summary Peer relations serve an important role in youth's adjustment to stressful life events. Assessment of peer and friend support may provide a more nuanced understanding of adjustment processes.

Publication Title

Journal of Pediatric Psychology