Study published: Concerns experienced by parents of children treated for cancer


A qualitative study highlighting parents' experience of concerns after their children have completed cancer treatment was recently published in the journal Psycho-Oncology. The study has been carried out within the research project ParentsCan, led by Louise von Essen, which aims to test and develop psychosocial support for parents whose children have been treated for cancer.  

Illustration of parent holding a childs' hand.

Interviews with parents

The time period after a child's cancer treatment has ended often comes with big changes for parents and some parents experience mental problems, such as depression and anxiety. Within the feasibility trial ENGAGE, the research group has tested the feasibility of the self-help program EJDeR.

EJDeR is an internet-administered guided self-help program based on low-intensity cognitive behavioural therapy. Results from the feasibility trial ENGAGE indicate that EJDeR is acceptable. However, not as many fathers completed the intervention and there may be a need to improve the acceptability of EJDeR, especially for fathers. In order to further develop and adapt EJDeR, the researchers explored the concerns experienced by parents of children treated for cancer through interviews.


Parents' concerns can be summarized in seven categories: Feeling lost and lonely in life, Low mood, Parenting difficulties, Productivity difficulties, Relationship challenges, Stress reactions, and Worry. A somewhat higher percentage of mothers than fathers mentioned all concerns. However, a larger percentage of fathers described problems linked to fear of not being a good parent, cancer recurrence, and concerns about the child's development and future. Findings suggest a need to adapt EJDeR to address problems with stress and challenges in the parental role. There is also a need to further adapt EJDeR to better meet the concerns expressed by fathers.

Johan Lundgren
Researcher Johan Lundgren

– Findings about parenting difficulties is a good example of how important it is to ask parents themselves to describe their concerns. I am not sure that we would have recognized a need to better adapt EJDeR to support parenting difficulties without this study, says Johan Lundgren, who is the first author of the article.

Read the full article ‘Concerns experienced by parents of children treated for cancer: A qualitative study to inform adaptations to an internet-administered, low-intensity cognitive behavioral therapy intervention’. It is written by Johan Lundgren, Ella Thiblin, Nina Lutvica, Christina Reuther, Paul Farrand, Joanne Woodford, and Louise von Essen

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Last modified: 2023-03-24