A comparison of emotional/behavioural problems between Taiwanese children with cancer and healthy controls The purpose of this study was to compare children, diagnosed with cancer, who were attending school, with their healthy peers on emotional and behavioural problems. Children who suffer from cancer experience severe side effects from their treatment protocols and from the uncertainty associated with their disease. We were seeking to find out if these children subsequently experienced more emotional and behavioural problems than their healthy peers. Parents and teachers of paediatric oncology patients and their healthy schoolmates were recruited. The ratio was one patient to two schoolmates. The Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) was used to collect data from the parents and teachers of 23 paediatric cancer patients and 46 healthy controls. Children were matched on enrollment in the same grade and socioeconomic status of their families. Paired-t tests were used to compare the differences between the emotional/behavioural scores of both groups of children. The findings of the study indicated that children with cancer had statistically higher scores on the following items of the CBCL: withdrawn/depressed, somatic complaints, social problems, thought problems, hyperactivity/impulsivity, rule-breaking behaviours and aggressive behaviours. School children with cancer in Taiwan did have more emotional/behavioural problems than their peers. Findings from this study suggest that Taiwanese paediatric oncology patients who are able to return to school and their families may need more psychosocial care. Healthcare professionals may need to extend their professional services to school settings to decrease long-term emotional and behavioural problems in children with cancer.
- Child Behaviour Checklist
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