Scientific article
Open access

Worries and anxiety in parents of adult survivors of childhood cancer : A report from the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor Study‐Parents

Published inPediatric blood & cancer, vol. 70, no. 5, e30246
Publication date2023-05
First online date2023-02-11

Objective: Having a child diagnosed with cancer is distressing for parents. We aimed to compare worries and anxiety in parents of adult childhood cancer survivors with parents of the Swiss general population (GP-parents), and to evaluate characteristics associated with worry in parents of survivors.

Methods: We conducted a nationwide, population-based study in parents of survivors (survivors aged ≥20 years at study, ≤16 years at diagnosis, >5 years post diagnosis) and GP-parents (≥1 child aged ≥20 years at study). We used the Worry and Anxiety Questionnaire (WAQ), and computed the WAQ total score (worries; possible range 0-80) and caseness for generalized anxiety disorder (anxiety), cognitive, somatic, and any criteria. We used multilevel, multivariable linear regression to identify characteristics associated with worries in parents of survivors.

Results: We included 787 parents of 513 survivors (41.0% fathers) and 478 GP-parents (42.3% fathers). Parents of survivors and GP-parents did not differ regarding worries (16.6 vs. 17.1, p = .977), anxiety (2.7% vs. 3.6%, p = .536), cognitive (p = .440), and somatic criteria (p = .067). Less parents of survivors met any criteria (17.7% vs. 24.0%, p = .039). Half of parents reported current cancer-related worries. Higher cancer-related worries were reported by mothers (β = 4.1; 95% CI: 2.0-6.2), parents with one child (β = 5.9; 95% CI: 2.0-9.7), currently experiencing disadvantages because of their child's former disease (β = 7.3; 95% CI: 4.0-10.6), or with support needs (β = 9.0; 95% CI: 3.9-14.2; p = .001).

Conclusions: It is encouraging that most parents of adult survivors report similar worries and anxiety as GP-parents, but cancer-related worries are still prevalent. Efforts should be made to empower parents to seek psycho-social support if required.

  • Switzerland
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer survivors
  • Fathers
  • Mothers
  • Worry
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Cancer Survivors / psychology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Parents / psychology
  • Survivors
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
Citation (ISO format)
CHRISTEN, Salome et al. Worries and anxiety in parents of adult survivors of childhood cancer : A report from the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor Study‐Parents. In: Pediatric blood & cancer, 2023, vol. 70, n° 5, p. e30246. doi: 10.1002/pbc.30246
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Article (Published version)
Secondary files (1)
ISSN of the journal1545-5009

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