An estimated 1.2 million parents of school age children will be newly diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. in 2012. Parental cancer causes substantial behavioral and emotional distress in both the diagnosed parent and child. An estimated 22-33% of the children exceed clinical cut off scores on standardized measures of distress or behavioral-emotional adjustment. Parents, regardless of education and socioeconomic level, are known to struggle with how and what to tell their child about their cancer or how to support the child during the many months of medical treatment. Treatment or disease-related symptoms and parental depressed mood negatively affect the child's physical and emotional access to the parent and the quality of parenting. Despite the magnitude of the problem and numbers affected, there is only 1 cancer parenting education program that has been tested for efficacy, the Enhancing Connections Program. In a 6-state randomized control trial, the program decreased parental depressed mood and anxiety, improved parenting quality, parenting skills and confidence, and enhanced the child's behavioral-emotional adjustment. Child outcomes were significant at 1- year follow up compared to controls. But that program, the Enhancing Connections Program (EC), was tested as an in-person delivered program, constraining its access and availability for parents for whom cost and time constraints or the burden of travel are prohibitive. The purpose of the proposed study is to test the feasibility of delivering the Enhancing Connections Program by telephone (EC-T) and to assess its short-term impact on parent and child outcomes, using both a pre-post-test (within group) design and a between group design, comparing current study outcomes with those obtained from the in-person delivered EC. A total of 60 recently diagnosed parents with Stage 0-3 cancer will be enrolled from provider sites that serve 5 states in the Pacific Northwest. Eligible parents will have a child 5- 12 years, have access to a telephone, and read, write and speak English among their languages. After consenting and obtaining baseline measures, study participants will receive 5 fully scripted, telephone delivered cancer education counseling sessions at 2- week intervals. Outcomes will be assessed at exit using the same standardized measures as those used to test efficacy of the EC. The study is adequately powered to detect a moderate effect size with .80 power, p=.05. Study results will inform the development of a randomized clinical trial.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1)
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Chollette, Veronica
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University of Washington
Other Health Professions
Schools of Nursing
United States
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