Adjustment of Children Facing the Death of a Parent Due to Cancer

Karolynn Siegel, Daniel Karus, Victoria H. Raveis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To compare predeath and postdeath levels of depression and anxiety reported by a sample of children who lost a parent to cancer ("study children") with the levels reported by children in a community sample who did not experience such a loss. Method: T scores for depressive symptomatology (Children's Depression Inventory) and state and trait anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) were compared. Both samples were weighted to control for multiple participants from the same family. Weights for children in the community sample were further adjusted to match the distribution of the two samples with regard to gender, age, and number of children in the household. Comparisons were made using nests and χ2 tests. Results: Whereas study children reported significantly higher levels of depression and anxiety in the predeath period, levels of symptomatology reported for both measures postdeath were similar in both samples. Discussion: The data suggest that while many children experiencing the loss of a parent to cancer report elevated levels of depression and anxiety predeath, by 7 to 12 months postdeath their reports of depression and anxiety are comparable with those of similarly situated children in the community who did not experience such a loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-450
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996


  • Childhood bereavement
  • Parental loss
  • Psychological adjustment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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