Peer Victimization in the Pediatric Oncology Population: Review of Risks, Protective Factors, and Implications for Intervention




Tarkenton, Tahnae R'shelle

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Childhood cancer presents patients and their families with unique short- and long-term challenges that can disrupt physical, emotional, academic, and family/social functioning. Further, many psychosocial adjustment difficulties common in the pediatric oncology population are similar to those that place healthy children at risk for peer victimization. Thus, pediatric oncology patients may be at increased risk for peer victimization. Based on current literature, this document will address the following hypotheses: (1.) children and adolescents with cancer are more at risk for peer victimization than healthy youth, (2.) children and adolescents with cancer are more susceptible to negative effects of peer victimization than healthy youth, and (3.) research examining anti-bullying interventions will indicate effective strategies that can be tailored to reduce peer victimization’s prevalence, effects, and risks in the pediatric oncology population. To address the hypotheses, potential risks, protective factors, and adverse outcomes linking peer victimization to the pediatric cancer population will be reviewed. Then, existing intervention strategies shown to be effective in preventing and reducing effects of peer victimization in healthy populations will be presented. Lastly, a manualized peer victimization intervention program tailored to the pediatric oncology population will be provided.

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