Siblings of children chronically ill with pediatric cancer: Prediction of personal adjustment

James Michael Sullivan, Fordham University

Abstract

This study had as its primary concern an analysis of the personal adjustment of the siblings of children with pediatric cancer. Research has indicated various degrees of adjustment, ranging from psychopathological disturbance to the complete absence of disturbance or dysfunction to actual increased positive functioning. Most research has found differences in families who have a child with pediatric cancer, but research findings have been limited by the methodology employed.^ This study sought to determine whether it was possible to predict, based on specific psychological and behavioral variables, whether siblings of children chronically ill with pediatric cancer were different from children who have no cancer in the family. The variables included eight personality factors from Cattell's 16 primary personality factors and school attendance, academic achievement, and involvement in extracurricular school activities.^ The Children's Personality Questionnaire for children aged 8-12 years and the High School Personality Questionnaire for children aged 12-18 were used to assess personal adjustment. School attendance, academic achievement, and involvement in extracurricular school activities were used as objective behavioral predictors. All 11 variables were treated as a single vector predicting adjustment.^ This study accounted for weaknesses in previous research and was grounded in the comprehensive trait-attribution theory, weaving theory, methodology, and statistical measurement into a single fabric, assessing and predicting group differences through the innovative predictive method of cluster analysis.^ A statistically significant correlation between cluster membership and group membership (p $<$.01) was found, indicating that siblings of children with pediatric cancer had lower scores in adjustment on the 11 combined predictor variables. This contradicted a conventional method of prediction (MANOVA) computed on the findings which found no statistically significant difference between groups. A final statistical analysis of the clusters to assess elevation, shape, and scatter between them found the clusters to be differentiated on six of the 11 variables: sizothymia, egostrength, threctia, guilt proneness, ergic tension, and school attendance. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Mental Health|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

James Michael Sullivan, "Siblings of children chronically ill with pediatric cancer: Prediction of personal adjustment" (January 1, 1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9136340.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9136340

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