Socioeconomic Status and Access to Resources as Predictors of Sibling Hope and Sibling Coping with Pediatric Cancer-Related Stressors




Prindiville, Katherine Alexis

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Although most siblings of pediatric cancer patients adjust well to cancer diagnosis and treatment course, some siblings demonstrate significant adjustment difficulties. One question is whether these siblings may also be at risk for reduced hope and poor coping, especially if family roles and routines are particularly disrupted during cancer treatment. This study will examine the degree to which sociodemographic variables (i.e., socioeconomic status and access to resources) predict pediatric cancer patients' siblings' hope and coping. Data were obtained from siblings of pediatric oncology patients and their parents at a large pediatric cancer treatment center using paper-and-pencil questionnaires, telephone/in-person structured interviews, and internet-based questionnaires. I hypothesized a direct relation between sociodemographic variables and sibling hope. I also hypothesized a direct relation between sociodemographic variables and adaptive coping and an inverse relation between sociodemographic variables and maladaptive coping. Both hypotheses were partially supported; sociodemographics as a whole did not significantly predict hope or adaptive coping, but did account for 5% and 10% of the variance, respectively. Sociodemographics did not significantly predict internalizing/externalizing coping or avoidant coping. To rule out superfluous findings, more research on the predictive value of income is needed. Future studies should also further examine other components of socioeconomic status and access to resources on sibling adjustment to pediatric cancer diagnosis and treatment. Life disruption variables significantly predicted all outcome variables, indicating that life disruption plays an important role in sibling adjustment. Providers should be aware of the impact of life disruption and find ways to care for siblings and families to ensure they experience as little disruption as possible.

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