Relationships between Russian mothers and their children with, and without, cancer: A controlled study

Aralova M, Robertson EG, Putrya A, Goncharova L, Wakefield CE, Aslanyan K


Using a traditional Russian framework to understand parent-child relationships, we investigated the development of the mother–child relationship in consideration of mothers’ distress and their children with cancer. Mothers of children with (n = 26) and without cancer (n = 26) completed the “Family Relationship Analysis” (FRA) and “Distress Thermometer” questionnaires. Children of participating parents (ages 6-12) (26 with cancer, 26 without cancer) completed the graphic discussion “My Social Circle” to determine the child’s close relationships. All mothers and children participated in the “The Cooperation Test (CT)” to assess parent-child interactions.

Distress was higher in mothers of children with cancer, with groups of mothers differing in methods for reducing distress. High distress was associated with ignoring their child’s needs and excessiveness of demands/duties. Mothers of children with cancer indulged their children’s demands and were more overprotective than mothers of healthy children. Children with cancer also placed their mothers further away in their social circle than children without. Overall, a clear interconnection between mother’s distress and the characteristics of the mother-child relationship were found. These findings will contribute to interventions aimed at decreasing maternal distress and improving mother-child relationships in pediatric oncology.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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