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Title page for ETD etd-12302009-122947

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Daigre, Amber Lynette
Author's Email Address amberdaigre@gmail.com
URN etd-12302009-122947
Title Mother-Child Communication About Cancer: The Role of Maternal Anxiety and Coping
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bruce E. Compas, Ph.D. Committee Chair
Deborah van Slyke, Ph.D. Committee Member
Kathleen Hoover-Dempsey, Ph.D. Committee Member
Megan M. Saylor Committee Member
  • communication
  • maternal
  • mother
  • anxiety
  • coping
  • pediatric cancer
  • parent-child communication
  • cancer
  • oncology
Date of Defense 2008-09-14
Availability unrestricted
The objective of the study was to 1) understand the inter-relationships among variables of mother-child communication, maternal distress and illness-related stressors and 2) to isolate maternal distress and coping behaviors as potentially important mediators in the relationship between illness-related stress and patterns of open communication. The sample included 76 mothers and their newly diagnosed children (ages 5-18 yrs) who participated in a larger NIH-funded, multi-site study on parent-child communication about cancer. Mothers and eligible children (ages 10-18) completed questionnaires which assessed levels of maternal distress, maternal coping strategies and patterns of parent-child communication. Mothers also rated the perceived prognosis of their child’s illness. Bivariate Pearson correlations were conducted to determine the relatedness of the coping, communication, maternal distress and maternal anxiety. A series of linear multiple regression analyses were also used to test maternal anxiety and distress as a mediator of the relationship between illness-related stress and parent-child communication. Results revealed that less open communication occurred with mothers who reported higher levels of maternal depression, higher levels of maternal anxiety, greater life stressors and greater use of disengagement coping strategies. Tests for mediation were largely non-significant suggesting that, in most cases, mediation does not best represent the role of maternal coping, anxiety and distress.
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