The purpose of this study was to describe individual, dyadic, and family responses to childhood cancer and related current-life stresses, self-esteem issues, marital satisfaction, and perceptions of family environments. A descriptive, correlational design was used with 20 families who had at least one well child and one child with cancer. Parents and children were asked to create drawings using a projective drawing technique called Kinetic Family Drawings (KFDs), then these drawings were compared with norms on the following quantitative measures: Schedule of Recent Experiences, Life Events Scale for Adolescents and Life Events Scale for Children, Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventory, Dyadic Adjustment Scale, and the Family Environment Scale. Results supported a need to evaluate each family member's individual responses to childhood cancer, given the importance of the family as a social environment for children. Results revealed an informative and, at times, varied profile across instruments and family members in the areas of adjustment, life stresses, self-esteem, marital satisfaction, and views of the family environment. For example, mothers reported significantly lower self-esteem than fathers. Yet, with the KFD, no significant differences on scores were found between family members.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jane_cornman/3/