The parents of children with cancer are at significant risk from mental health problems, a UK study has found.
Coventry University researchers found that three quarters of 217 parents of children with cancer, mostly leukaemia, showed signs of clinical anxiety. This was compared with around a quarter of parents of healthy children.
Almost half of parents looking after children with cancer were also at risk of serious depression, compared to just 6% of other parents, the authors said.
They also found that men were more likely to be optimistic about the outcome of their child's cancer than women. As a result of their findings, the authors have developed a support programme for parents called Hope+.
The Hope+ programme runs for 6 weekly 2 hour sessions and delivered by health and psychology professionals from Coventry University and trained community volunteers.
Psychooncology (2007) www3.interscience.wiley