Interventions for improving communication with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer

J Tim Scott, Megan Prictor, Mirjam Harmsen, Alex Broom, Vikki A Entwistle, Amanda J Sowden, Ian Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background

A diagnosis of cancer creates multiple problems for affected families, including major changes in living patterns, roles and relationships. It has not been common practice for families and health practitioners to share information with children or adolescents about a family member's cancer, or to allow them to express their feelings about this. In recent years, however, researchers and practitioners have begun to recognise that children and adolescents might appreciate and benefit by being better informed about, and having more opportunity to communicate their responses to, cancer in the family.

Objectives

To examine the effects of different ways of enhancing communication with children and/or adolescents about a family member's cancer and its treatment.

Search methods

We searched the following sources: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), The Cochrane Library, Issue 1 2003; MEDLINE (1966 to January week 2 2003); EMBASE (1985 to 2003 week 6); CINAHL (1982 to February Week 1 2003); ERIC (1966 to 23 January 2003); PsycINFO (1985 to February week 1 2003).

For the original (1999, unpublished) version of this review we also searched the following databases: CancerLIT, Health Management Information Consortium, British Nursing Index, IAC Health & Wellness, JICSTE-Plus, Pascal, Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, Mental Health Abstracts, AMED, HUMN, MANTIS and ASSIA. Bibliographies of identified studies were also checked and contact made with experts in the field.

Selection criteria

Randomised and non-randomised controlled trials, and controlled and uncontrolled before and after studies that evaluated the effects of interventions to enhance communication with children and/or adolescents about a family member's cancer and its treatment.

Data collection and analysis

Data on knowledge and understanding, coping, adjustment and wellbeing were extracted by one review author and checked by another review author. We assessed study quality using six criteria. We present a qualitative synthesis of the results.

Main results

Five studies satisfied the selection criteria: one non-randomised controlled before and after study, and four uncontrolled before and after studies. They differed in terms of the interventions evaluated and the outcomes measured. One study of a camping program and two studies of structured group interventions reported improvements in cancer-related knowledge. One out of two structured group intervention studies found significant reductions in psychological and social problems. The camping program study reported significant improvements in siblings' behaviour. One structured group intervention study reported significantly more positive mood states after the intervention. Another structured group intervention study reported significantly lower levels of anxiety after the intervention.

Authors' conclusions

Different methods of communicating with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer have not been widely evaluated in controlled trials. There is weak evidence to suggest that some interventions, such as structured group interventions, may lead to improvements in knowledge and understanding, in coping, anxiety, adjustment and wellbeing. More research is needed to investigate the comparative value of these interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberCD004511
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Fingerprint

Communication
Camping
Neoplasms
Social Adjustment
Anxiety
Health Information Management
Family Health
Social Problems
Bibliography
Linguistics
MEDLINE
Patient Selection
Libraries
Siblings
Mental Health
Emotions
Nursing
Language
Research Personnel
Databases

Cite this

Scott, J. T., Prictor, M., Harmsen, M., Broom, A., Entwistle, V. A., Sowden, A. J., & Watt, I. (2003). Interventions for improving communication with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (4), [CD004511]. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD004511

Interventions for improving communication with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer. / Scott, J Tim; Prictor, Megan; Harmsen, Mirjam; Broom, Alex; Entwistle, Vikki A; Sowden, Amanda J; Watt, Ian .

In: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, No. 4, CD004511, 2003.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Scott, J Tim ; Prictor, Megan ; Harmsen, Mirjam ; Broom, Alex ; Entwistle, Vikki A ; Sowden, Amanda J ; Watt, Ian . / Interventions for improving communication with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer. In: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2003 ; No. 4.
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title = "Interventions for improving communication with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer",
abstract = "BackgroundA diagnosis of cancer creates multiple problems for affected families, including major changes in living patterns, roles and relationships. It has not been common practice for families and health practitioners to share information with children or adolescents about a family member's cancer, or to allow them to express their feelings about this. In recent years, however, researchers and practitioners have begun to recognise that children and adolescents might appreciate and benefit by being better informed about, and having more opportunity to communicate their responses to, cancer in the family.ObjectivesTo examine the effects of different ways of enhancing communication with children and/or adolescents about a family member's cancer and its treatment.Search methodsWe searched the following sources: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), The Cochrane Library, Issue 1 2003; MEDLINE (1966 to January week 2 2003); EMBASE (1985 to 2003 week 6); CINAHL (1982 to February Week 1 2003); ERIC (1966 to 23 January 2003); PsycINFO (1985 to February week 1 2003).For the original (1999, unpublished) version of this review we also searched the following databases: CancerLIT, Health Management Information Consortium, British Nursing Index, IAC Health & Wellness, JICSTE-Plus, Pascal, Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, Mental Health Abstracts, AMED, HUMN, MANTIS and ASSIA. Bibliographies of identified studies were also checked and contact made with experts in the field.Selection criteriaRandomised and non-randomised controlled trials, and controlled and uncontrolled before and after studies that evaluated the effects of interventions to enhance communication with children and/or adolescents about a family member's cancer and its treatment.Data collection and analysisData on knowledge and understanding, coping, adjustment and wellbeing were extracted by one review author and checked by another review author. We assessed study quality using six criteria. We present a qualitative synthesis of the results.Main resultsFive studies satisfied the selection criteria: one non-randomised controlled before and after study, and four uncontrolled before and after studies. They differed in terms of the interventions evaluated and the outcomes measured. One study of a camping program and two studies of structured group interventions reported improvements in cancer-related knowledge. One out of two structured group intervention studies found significant reductions in psychological and social problems. The camping program study reported significant improvements in siblings' behaviour. One structured group intervention study reported significantly more positive mood states after the intervention. Another structured group intervention study reported significantly lower levels of anxiety after the intervention.Authors' conclusionsDifferent methods of communicating with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer have not been widely evaluated in controlled trials. There is weak evidence to suggest that some interventions, such as structured group interventions, may lead to improvements in knowledge and understanding, in coping, anxiety, adjustment and wellbeing. More research is needed to investigate the comparative value of these interventions.",
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T1 - Interventions for improving communication with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer

AU - Scott, J Tim

AU - Prictor, Megan

AU - Harmsen, Mirjam

AU - Broom, Alex

AU - Entwistle, Vikki A

AU - Sowden, Amanda J

AU - Watt, Ian

PY - 2003

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N2 - BackgroundA diagnosis of cancer creates multiple problems for affected families, including major changes in living patterns, roles and relationships. It has not been common practice for families and health practitioners to share information with children or adolescents about a family member's cancer, or to allow them to express their feelings about this. In recent years, however, researchers and practitioners have begun to recognise that children and adolescents might appreciate and benefit by being better informed about, and having more opportunity to communicate their responses to, cancer in the family.ObjectivesTo examine the effects of different ways of enhancing communication with children and/or adolescents about a family member's cancer and its treatment.Search methodsWe searched the following sources: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), The Cochrane Library, Issue 1 2003; MEDLINE (1966 to January week 2 2003); EMBASE (1985 to 2003 week 6); CINAHL (1982 to February Week 1 2003); ERIC (1966 to 23 January 2003); PsycINFO (1985 to February week 1 2003).For the original (1999, unpublished) version of this review we also searched the following databases: CancerLIT, Health Management Information Consortium, British Nursing Index, IAC Health & Wellness, JICSTE-Plus, Pascal, Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, Mental Health Abstracts, AMED, HUMN, MANTIS and ASSIA. Bibliographies of identified studies were also checked and contact made with experts in the field.Selection criteriaRandomised and non-randomised controlled trials, and controlled and uncontrolled before and after studies that evaluated the effects of interventions to enhance communication with children and/or adolescents about a family member's cancer and its treatment.Data collection and analysisData on knowledge and understanding, coping, adjustment and wellbeing were extracted by one review author and checked by another review author. We assessed study quality using six criteria. We present a qualitative synthesis of the results.Main resultsFive studies satisfied the selection criteria: one non-randomised controlled before and after study, and four uncontrolled before and after studies. They differed in terms of the interventions evaluated and the outcomes measured. One study of a camping program and two studies of structured group interventions reported improvements in cancer-related knowledge. One out of two structured group intervention studies found significant reductions in psychological and social problems. The camping program study reported significant improvements in siblings' behaviour. One structured group intervention study reported significantly more positive mood states after the intervention. Another structured group intervention study reported significantly lower levels of anxiety after the intervention.Authors' conclusionsDifferent methods of communicating with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer have not been widely evaluated in controlled trials. There is weak evidence to suggest that some interventions, such as structured group interventions, may lead to improvements in knowledge and understanding, in coping, anxiety, adjustment and wellbeing. More research is needed to investigate the comparative value of these interventions.

AB - BackgroundA diagnosis of cancer creates multiple problems for affected families, including major changes in living patterns, roles and relationships. It has not been common practice for families and health practitioners to share information with children or adolescents about a family member's cancer, or to allow them to express their feelings about this. In recent years, however, researchers and practitioners have begun to recognise that children and adolescents might appreciate and benefit by being better informed about, and having more opportunity to communicate their responses to, cancer in the family.ObjectivesTo examine the effects of different ways of enhancing communication with children and/or adolescents about a family member's cancer and its treatment.Search methodsWe searched the following sources: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), The Cochrane Library, Issue 1 2003; MEDLINE (1966 to January week 2 2003); EMBASE (1985 to 2003 week 6); CINAHL (1982 to February Week 1 2003); ERIC (1966 to 23 January 2003); PsycINFO (1985 to February week 1 2003).For the original (1999, unpublished) version of this review we also searched the following databases: CancerLIT, Health Management Information Consortium, British Nursing Index, IAC Health & Wellness, JICSTE-Plus, Pascal, Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts, Mental Health Abstracts, AMED, HUMN, MANTIS and ASSIA. Bibliographies of identified studies were also checked and contact made with experts in the field.Selection criteriaRandomised and non-randomised controlled trials, and controlled and uncontrolled before and after studies that evaluated the effects of interventions to enhance communication with children and/or adolescents about a family member's cancer and its treatment.Data collection and analysisData on knowledge and understanding, coping, adjustment and wellbeing were extracted by one review author and checked by another review author. We assessed study quality using six criteria. We present a qualitative synthesis of the results.Main resultsFive studies satisfied the selection criteria: one non-randomised controlled before and after study, and four uncontrolled before and after studies. They differed in terms of the interventions evaluated and the outcomes measured. One study of a camping program and two studies of structured group interventions reported improvements in cancer-related knowledge. One out of two structured group intervention studies found significant reductions in psychological and social problems. The camping program study reported significant improvements in siblings' behaviour. One structured group intervention study reported significantly more positive mood states after the intervention. Another structured group intervention study reported significantly lower levels of anxiety after the intervention.Authors' conclusionsDifferent methods of communicating with children and adolescents about a family member's cancer have not been widely evaluated in controlled trials. There is weak evidence to suggest that some interventions, such as structured group interventions, may lead to improvements in knowledge and understanding, in coping, anxiety, adjustment and wellbeing. More research is needed to investigate the comparative value of these interventions.

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DO - 10.1002/14651858.CD004511

M3 - Article

JO - Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

JF - Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

SN - 1469-493X

IS - 4

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