Mental Health Services for Parents Who Lost a Child to Cancer: If We Build Them, Will They Come?

Title

Mental Health Services for Parents Who Lost a Child to Cancer: If We Build Them, Will They Come?

Creator

Lichtenthal WG; Corner GW; Sweeney CR; Wiener L; Roberts KE; Baser RE; Li Y; Breitbart W; Kissane DW; Prigerson HG

Publisher

Journal Of Clinical Oncology

Date

2015

Subject

adolescent; Child; Cross-Sectional Studies; Female; Humans; infant; Male; United States; Young Adult; Neoplasms; Adult; Parents; Middle Aged; Health Services Accessibility; cause of death; Age Factors; Psychotherapy; Patient Acceptance of Health Care; Time Factors; Self Report; Self-Help Groups; Preschool; Adaptation; Psychological; Grief; Mental Health Services; Minority Groups; Psychotropic Drugs

Description

PURPOSE: To examine bereavement mental health service use, barriers to use, and factors associated with use in parents bereaved by cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A multicenter, cross-sectional study of 120 parents bereaved by cancer between 6 months and 6 years after their loss was performed. Parents completed self-report assessments of mental health service use and barriers, prolonged grief, depression, anxiety, attachment styles, and sense of meaning by phone, in person, or on their own. RESULTS: Forty-one percent of bereaved parents were currently using mental health services (talk therapy, psychotropic medication, and/or a support group), most commonly within the first 2 years after their loss. Talk therapy was the most frequently used service, although 36% of parents who discontinued therapy did so because it was not helpful. Forty percent of parents who wanted bereavement support reported they were not receiving services. The most common barriers to service use were that it was too painful to speak about the loss (64%) and too difficult to find help (60%). Factors associated with current mental health service use included more recent loss, prior mental health service use, subclinical/increased depression, insecure attachment styles, and a decreased sense of meaning. Minority parents were more likely to have unmet needs than nonminority parents. CONCLUSION: Parents appear to need, want, and often access bereavement mental health services, which could be offered in oncology settings. However, barriers to service use must be addressed, particularly for those with more debilitating grief symptoms and for minorities. High treatment dropout rates suggest the importance of improving retention, training providers, and developing effective grief interventions.
2015-07

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Type

Journal Article

Citation List Month

Backlog

Pages

2246-2253

Issue

20

Volume

33

Citation

Lichtenthal WG; Corner GW; Sweeney CR; Wiener L; Roberts KE; Baser RE; Li Y; Breitbart W; Kissane DW; Prigerson HG, “Mental Health Services for Parents Who Lost a Child to Cancer: If We Build Them, Will They Come?,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 16, 2022, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/14509.

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