Predictors of Stress of Parents of a Child with Cancer: A Jordanian Perspective

  •  Rami Masa'Deh    
  •  Jacqueline Collier    
  •  Carol Hall    
  •  Fadwa Alhalaiqa    


Background: Most paediatric oncology studies agree that being parents of a child with cancer is an emotionally stressful event. Although an increasing number of studies have investigated psychological stress of parents of a child with cancer, few of these studies have included both parents or investigated the predictors of high stress levels for the mothers and the fathers. Moreover, studies published over the last few decades were limited to Western countries and have shown inconsistent findings about parental perceived stress whose children have cancer. This study explored differences in predictors of perceived stress between Jordanian mothers and fathers of children with cancer.

Methods: This study involved a survey of 300 couples parenting a child with cancer. Participants answered the Arabic version of the Perceived Stress Scale 10-items, demographic and characteristics check list questionnaires. The main aims were to measure perceived stress levels for mothers and fathers, explore the predictors associated with high perceived stress levels and make a comparison between them.

Findings: Mothers reported significantly higher stress levels than fathers (p<0.001), with a large effect size (0.30). Some of the factors associated with mothers and fathers high stress levels affected both parents whereas employment status affected only fathers’ stress levels.

Conclusions: These findings indicate the need to work with the mothers and the fathers with a child with cancer in Jordan to recognise their psychological needs at the time of diagnosis and followed by on-going psychological support for both parents.

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