Social support, coping, and psychological distress in mothers and fathers of pediatric transplant candidates: a pilot study

Laura Simons, Lisa M Ingerski, David M Janicke
Pediatric Transplantation 2007, 11 (7): 781-7
Both parents and children report significant psychological difficulties and family disruption prior to transplantation; however, there have been fewer studies examining predictors of distress in both mothers and fathers and across multiple transplant groups. Thirty-four mothers and 22 fathers participated in this pilot study. Parents completed measures during a routine tertiary pretransplant psychological evaluation. Paired sample t-test results indicated that mothers and fathers differed significantly on specific coping strategies employed, with fathers less likely to use engagement strategies than mothers. Correlation analyses demonstrated strong associations between engagement coping strategies and less psychological distress and the reverse with disengagement coping strategies for both mothers and fathers. Social support was associated with less psychological distress for mothers, but was unrelated to distress for fathers. Using regression analyses, for mothers, lack of social support, and disengagement coping predicted poor psychological outcomes. Taken together, these results suggest that assessing specific coping strategies employed by both mothers and fathers is an essential component of the pretransplant evaluation process. This study delineates areas for intervention that impact adjustment in parents of pediatric transplant candidates.

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