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Title page for ETD etd-07182013-100624

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Desjardins, Leandra
Author's Email Address leandra.desjardins@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07182013-100624
Title Social competence and social problems in children recently diagnosed with cancer
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dr. Bruce Compas Committee Chair
Dr. Megan Saylor Committee Member
  • Social Problems
  • Social Competence
  • Cancer
Date of Defense 2013-07-10
Availability unrestricted
Previous research has found that pediatric cancer survivors are more socially isolated, experience greater difficulties in social competence, and are less likely to marry than their healthy peers. Building on this prior research, social functioning was investigated in a sample of 327 children recently diagnosed with heterogeneous cancers. Mothers (N= 313), fathers (N= 165), and children (N=155) reported on child social competence and social problems. According to all informants, children newly diagnosed with cancer experienced significantly greater difficulties in both social competence and social problems compared to population norms. Further, the relationships between social functioning and child and parent demographic and medical variables were examined. Type of diagnosis, gender, and time since diagnosis were not significantly associated with social competence or social problems. Factors significantly associated with greater difficulties in social functioning included younger age at diagnosis, lower parental education, family income and single parent status. Results bear implications on the development of social skills training interventions for pediatric cancer patients.
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