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In It Together: Parental Dyadic Coping in the Face of Childhood Cancer Open Access

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In this study, the author aimed to gain a deeper understanding of dyadic coping processes of parents who have a child living with cancer. The study used secondary data collected by a National Cancer Institute funded protocol that used a cross-sectional, multi-center, exploratory study design. Data was collected at a single time point, and employed a survey composed of existing instruments that were altered to reflect the needs of this sample. Instruments included measures designed to assess relationship satisfaction (Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scales), dyadic coping appraisals (Gottman-17), congruent dyadic coping (measured via a mathematical measure of congruence), parent role (mother or father), and the state of their relationship at various time points during treatment. The Systemic Transactional Model proposed by Bodenmann (1995) and the Developmental-Contextual Model proposed by Berg and Upchurch (2007) provided the theoretical bases for this study. The final sample included 184 participants (of which 49 were a sub-set of couples). Results indicated that the dyadic coping appraisals variable significantly predicted and explained relationship satisfaction. However neither congruent dyadic coping nor parent role was a significant predictor of relationship satisfaction. Results also revealed that ratings of relationship status appeared to decline across the course of treatment. Finally, the demographics were also explored in order to better characterize this sample of participants and thus describe the generalizability of results. Implications for clinical interventions and future research ideas are discussed.

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