Patterns of posttraumatic stress symptoms in parents of childhood cancer survivors

Melissa A. Alderfer, Avital Cnaan, Rachel A. Annunziato, Anne E. Kazak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms have been reported in mothers and fathers of childhood cancer survivors; however, little is known about patterns of PTS in these families. Cluster analysis was applied to the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Reaction Index scores of 98 couples parenting adolescent childhood cancer survivors to describe patterns of PTS in families, yielding the following 5 clusters: Minimal PTS, Mothers Elevated, Disengaged, Fathers Elevated, and Elevated PTS. The clusters were validated using data from a structured psychiatric interview, an additional self-report measure of PTS, and an index of family functioning. These clinically meaningful patterns reveal that a majority of families had at least one parent with moderate to severe PTS, which supports development of family-based interventions for this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-440
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood cancer survivors
  • Cluster analysis
  • Families
  • Parents
  • Posttraumatic stress symptoms


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