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Mothers' ratings of quality of life in childhood cancer: Initial optimism predicts improvement over time

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Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is the most common form of childhood cancer. Despite good survival rates, quality of life (QOL) may be compromised, and children show mood and behaviour problems (MBP). We report a 2-year longitudinal study where mothers assessed their child's QOL and MBP ∼3 months after diagnosis with ALL (T1), 1 year (T2) and 2 years (T3) later. Mothers of 46 children (M age 7 years at T1) with ALL completed ratings of child's QOL (PedsQL™) and Mood and Behaviour Problems (MBP) at each time point; they also recalled change in MBP over the past year and anticipation of future change over the next year. QOL and MBP improved, especially from T1 to T2. Retrospective and serial measures of change were uncorrelated. Mothers' optimism at T1 was a significant predictor of subsequent ratings, not only of current MBP but also QOL, up to 2 years later. Retrospective measures of change are not a substitute for serial measurements.
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Keywords: Optimism; childhood cancer; quality of life; retrospective and longitudinal assessment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TP, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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