About this Research Topic
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in children and adults in developed countries, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths each year according to the WHO. Although this disease used to be mostly fatal, an increasing number of patients currently survive. According to the Cancer Research UK, around 82% and 54% of all cancer affected children and adults survive for five or more years, respectively. Like all chronic diseases, cancer has a significant impact on the life of the patient, including physical (e.g., nausea, pain), emotional (e.g., post-traumatic stress), and social (e.g., feelings of isolation) problems during or after treatment. The research literature furthermore documents that the turmoil and disruption created by cancer reach beyond the patient, including the family context in which a patient is embedded.
More specifically, a growing number of studies show that the functioning of the patient's individual family members, the family as a whole, and the different family subsystems (e.g., couple, parents, siblings) are also affected. Furthermore, the existing literature on families dealing with cancer describes a considerable variability in individual and family adjustment, thereby pointing to the need for more research on risk and protective factors for the adaptation of the affected families. Research that theoretically and methodologically takes a family-level perspective may then contribute to our evidence-based understanding of how to promote long-term adjustment in cancer-affected families and their members, and how to help them cope with the disease more effectively.
This Research Topic welcomes recent research on how families deal with cancer including the following themes:
(a) Basic research, clinical and intervention research (e.g., assessment instruments, therapeutic interventions)
(b) The level of the individual family members, but also at the level of the family subsystems (e.g., couple functioning, parental functioning, sibling subsystem) and the family as a whole
(c) Various research domains such as family psychology, psycho-oncology, psychotherapy, health psychology, and clinical psychology
(d) Different cultures and ethnicities
(e) Different types of cancer
(f) Different ages of patients (children, adolescents, adults, elderly)
(g) Examining the impact of cancer on individual, couple, and family-level outcomes
(h) Examining protective and risk factors (at the level of the individual, couple, family, society, treatment) in dealing with cancer
(i) Using a variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods (e.g., systematic review, questionnaires, daily diaries, EMA, interviews, observations) and designs (e.g., experiments, cross-sectional, longitudinal)
Keywords: Families, Cancer, Adjustment, Intervention
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