Table_1_Couples Dealing With Pediatric Blood Cancer: A Study on the Role of Dyadic Coping.docx

Objective: Pediatric cancer is a life-threatening disease that poses significant challenges to the ill child and his/her parents. Among the studies investigating risk and protective factors for the individual and relationship adjustment of parents being confronted with pediatric cancer, couple factors – such as dyadic coping – gained little research attention. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to explore the association between dyadic coping and individual/relationship outcomes of parents in the context of pediatric cancer.

Methods: Participants were 59 couples of children diagnosed with leukemia or Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Time since diagnosis varied from diagnosis to 20 months. Both parents completed the DCI-short, DASS21, PIP, and MMQ.

Results: Positive dyadic coping (i.e., supportive and common dyadic coping) and negative dyadic coping proved to be related to individual and relational outcomes of parents facing cancer in their child. In addition, while men and women reported to be equally satisfied with their partner and their sexual relationship, women reported higher levels of individual maladjustment.

Conclusion: Our findings led to the conclusion that dyadic coping is important for both individual as well as relationship outcomes of parents when facing a diagnosis of cancer in their child. When meeting with families, both partners should be invited as a unit in order to best capture couple level experiences. Also, clinicians should be sensitive to relational and sexual issues besides individual issues, taking into account evidence-based standards for psychosocial care in pediatric oncology.