Parents of children with cancer and higher rates of psychotropic use

April 19, 2019

Cancer diagnosis and treatment can often be an incredibly stressful event for patients as well as their families. This challenge is particularly difficult to bear for parents of children with cancer. Unfortunately, there are not many studies examining objectives measures of parental distress.

In a new study, led by Hanin Salem, PhD, parents of children with cancer from the Danish Cancer Registry were surveyed against those with children who are cancer free. Prior to this study, objective estimates of parental distress following their child’s diagnosis were scarce. Specifically, the researchers focused on the rates of psychotropic medication use amongst parents of cancer patients.

Based on the results of this experiment, parents of children with cancer were found to have higher rates of psychotropic medication use, indicating higher rates of distress. These results pertain specifically to parents whose children had received a diagnosis within the year. Comparatively, parents with children who were cancer free up to 2 years after diagnosis experienced significantly lower levels of psychotropic medication use.

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