Positive Psychology for Children with Cancer

Topic: Psychological Issues
Words: 4188 Pages: 14

The research conducted a comparative study for justification in accessing the evidence of the relationship found in psychological properties and the qualitative and quantitative lives of people living with cancer, especially children. The global psychological functioning of both children and parents with cancer is rising at a higher rate. It is emerging as a major pandemic that carries the mass lives of the young generation. Thus, the study is answering the question, what are the methodologies to be employed to lower the number of patients and analyze critical steps and procedures towards an eventual solution? There is express distress in poor adjustments to many children with cancer. Many youths with four to eighteen years who are diagnosed with cancer have a variety of threats, such as procedural threats and high seriousness of the diagnosis. Cancer has recently been tiered as the main reason for death in most developed and undeveloped states. It is the known significant challenge of enhancing life expectancy. Previous studies indicate that patients who succumbed to cancer encounter more difficulty tackling the negative and poorer quality and emotions of life when the disease is progressing.

Despite the therapeutic anti-cancer cures, surgical-oncology and radio have been cutting-edge; these have, in return, made a menace to the mental health and the excellence of life of the patients. Patients, especially children with cancer, are vulnerable to effects on their psychological and physical well-being. The mental illness research on the study of positive emotions has been perceived as the background and has not been researched deeply. Martin Seligman and his purposes advanced positive psychology to enhance the life quality and protect the start of possible pathologies and mental handicaps. Positive emotions have greatly influenced the creation of the right situations for our ancestors to embrace the required physical knowledge to counter strategies for predators, inventing the possibilities, psychological abilities, and the practical understanding for producing connections in both people and understanding the behavior to support other persons.

Research Question and Its Importance

This study seeks to determine the impact of positive psychology on the mental wellbeing of children with cancer. The rationale for addressing this question is based on the recent findings that children with adverse illnesses tend to develop mental issues but which can be reversed by psychological based interventions. In the recent past, studies have shown that positive psychology-based interventions can decrease mental health symptoms as well as health-related physical symptoms in children suffering from adverse illnesses like cancer. Recent studies show a greater reduction in distress and other mental health issues in children with cancer when they are placed under positive psychology programs that seek to elevate their hope, optimism, and positive effect. Therefore, the research will examine whether these hypotheses are correct and whether positive psychology programs actually improve mental health in children victims of cancer. Consequently, addressing this research question will increase the existing understanding on the importance of positive psychology interventions and encourage their use in managing mental health issues in children with adverse or lethal illnesses.

Key Aims of the Research

The broad topic that this study seeks to investigate is the relationship between positive psychology and mental health. Specifically, primary aim of this study is to examine the impact that positive psychology has on children’s mental wellbeing, taking into consideration the children victims of cancer. This research is a primary study that will address the study question based on data collected from the field with participants. Specifically, the study is a controlled trial that will involve two groups of participants- the trial and control groups. In research, the trial group involves participants placed under the specific treatment or intervention while the control group comprises of the participants not under the specific intervention/treatment. The outcomes of the two groups are compared and contrasted at the end of the study, which helps to determine whether the treatment is effective and the pattern of the impacts. In the process, the researcher will develop a comprehensive understanding of the research process, findings, and outcomes of the research. From the controlled trial, the researcher will develop a comprehensive understanding of the existing knowledge about the impact of positive psychology on children, taking into special consideration the children victims of cancer.

Study design

A quantitative research design was chosen with a controlled-trial approach in which two groups were included. One group was the trial group (cancer group) comprised of parents of children diagnosed with various forms of cancer. The control group was made up of parents of children with no known history of diagnosis with any form of cancer.

Cancer (trial) group

Herein, the research involved the parents of the children who acquired medication for malignancy at a key pediatric cancer center. They were enlisted during normal outpatient visit routines at the center. The child cancer patients included in the study group based on specific criteria. First, the included children had a diagnosis of any malignancy for a period not less than one year prior to the date of inclusion in the study. Secondly, they were aged between 3 and 17. Third, patients and/or their children spoke English. Fourth, the included children had no diagnosis with cognitive and significant or with sensory shortfalls.

For every child recruited, there were accompaniments of the parents who could be a parent or a custodial relative to ensure the credibility of the details given. The basis of the child was considered in terms of the four strata time from diagnosis in a period of a variety of rages of 1-6 months to 2years, >5 years. The non-participants and the participants were regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, cancer diagnosis, or the time from diagnosis. Five of the persons providing the data withdrew with a reminder of the final sample of 302.

Control (comparison) group

The parents were eligible for: lack of history of severe sickness in the child’s reference, parent of children within the age of 3<17 years, children with no sensory deficits, and those who spoke English. The recruitment was conducted in all public schools around a three-state area hospital. The permission slips were issued with the approval of school principals and the school system superintendents. The permission cards requested the consent to undertake an association with the family in cases where the student was a demographic rhyme of the patient who had been initially enrolled in the school for the study. The slips that were returned cards composed of the contact information accompanied by the gender, age, parent occupation, education, and ethnicity or race. Herein, the gathered data were utilized in informing a pool of crucial comparison stakeholders who were contacted subsequently.

The original comparison offered an appropriate demographic rhyme undertaken through telephone by the research study assistants. The Psychology Department of the hospital allowed parents who were freely willing to participate whereby their consent was acquired, and study procedures are undertaken in the same way as that of the cancer group stakeholders as discussed previously. Again, parents who had had young children with cancer were recruited in the same way via daycare areas and the preschool programs in the zones. The children were the key factor in consideration instead of the parents or characteristics. Out of the 264 families recruited, 87% of them agreed to take part in the practice. The medical and demographic backgrounds of the samples were later summarized in the below table. The percentages of both the fathers and the mothers did not have significant differences and the groups that took part in the practice.

Background characteristics of mothers (n = 9) and fathers (n = 6).

Variable Mothers Fathers Total
n n n
Child’s cancer diagnosis Number of children with Brain tumor 1 1 2
Those children that had Wilms’ tumor 1 1
The children with Bladder tumor 1 1
Children with Germinoma 1 1
Those children with Ovarian cancer 1 1
Those children with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia 1 1
Acute myeloid leukemia 1 1
Hodgkin’s lymphoma 1 1
Rhabdomyosarcoma 1 3 4
Neuroblastoma 1 3 5
Lymphoma 1 1 3
Marital status Partnership and marriage status 7 7 13
Single 1 1
Living with the child’s biological parent Yes 6 8 11
No 2 7 4
Educational level Not gone to university 4 5 9
High level education 6 2 6
Employment status Those who are Employed 6 4 7
Those who are Unemployed 1 2 5
Those in Sick-leave 3 1 5
Gender of child Female 5 6 7
Male 5 4 9


The research designated herein was a section of a more substantial study assessing a parent, family, and child adjustment to cancer at the childhood stage. As a section of a trial to lower the accord and aimed impacts, the study was a coping, stress, and modification in parents and their children. It failed to specify the focus on cancer or suffering. After locating consent, the parents were allowed to undertake and finish a battery of questionnaires (Coyne & Tennen, 2010). There was the identification of the traumatic occasions by the participants impulsively without undertaking any orientation. Based on the self-identified experience of the parents, the diagnostic interview for PTSD was conducted. The parents identified an occasion that satisfied DSM-IV A criteria to meet complete standards for PTSD and functional criteria E and F. Despite this, PTTS were gauged from all the parents based on the occasion figured inconsiderate of if it appeared to satisfy the requirements A.

By utilizing questionnaires, the parents could measure PTTS and PG acquisition impulsively and identify traumatic occasions. Guardians in the trial group who failed to figure out any event correlated to the tumor of their children were taken for an orientation about cancer. They were requested to evaluate the composition of the named experience that they termed as traumatic. They were later asked to finish the PG and the PTSS measure on the association to the cancer experience. This paved the way for the groups’ initial processes to be similar. It was a well-paved way for cancer-particular assessment without a preemptive aiming at cancer, or the idea of cancer experience was stressful.

Meanwhile, the research method employed herein was to identify and participate in a multi-method study. This was to be the youth within the range of 4 to eight years. The appraisals of the cancer threat went through an assessment through narrative technique and self-report, at a period of two weeks post-diagnosis. The PCs reported that the anxiety of the children and depressive signs three months post-diagnosis, and the children provided their report on the quality of life they live and QOL half-year post-diagnosis.

Similarities and contradictions

There was a significant similarity whereby the methodology employed was composed of mainly the participants, who were the children and their parents. Questionnaires were common-mode utilized in undertaking the research. The nation was evident in obtaining the pieces of information as well. There was a great contradiction in the parents’ way regarding most of the procedures employed towards identifying their children with cancer as traumatic.

Stated limitation

The withdrawal of the participants inconvenienced the results that were not with possible errors. The retreat was also a waste of resources since it took time to interview persons who eventually opted out. It is also a discouraging factor to the persons who were the key stakeholders in the whole process. It was not a walk to the park to convince the ill persons to interview them, especially those whose children or the children themselves had a worsened situation of cancer illness.

Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale

The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) is a planned interview for the diagnosis of PTSD. It aims at assessing lifetime and current criteria for PTSD, with frequency ratings and the symptom intensity listed in the DSM-IV. The assessment starts with a checklist of the occasions that satisfy the DSM-IV-A- 1 criteria. Interviews continue based on occasion respondence which is identified as the most stressful by meeting criteria A. The CAPS is among the widely utilized PTSD interviews and has been indicated to have successfully psychometric components in various populations (Reschly et al., 2008). In the recent studies, by using the six raters, the average complete agreement in the “not less than 9” category in inter-rater was noted to be not below97% for current PTSD and an eternal PTSD agreement being fully 100%.

Brief symptom inventory and posttraumatic growth inventory

The brief symptom inventory is an established 53 measure concerning SCL-90-R that was utilized to assess parental psychological signs. T-score can be acquired on no less than nine symptom groups and three worldwide mini-scales. The only regarded report on the Global Severity Index by utilizing the mature, healthy normative variables is used to acquire gender-based T-scores during the assessment. Successful reliability statistical data are reported, highlighting the validity of both divergence and convergence.

Quality evaluation of the research

In a critical analysis of the research, it was noted that the campaign towards positive psychology could cure mental illness in children who are cancer patients through the identified methodologies. It is acknowledged that through the interviews and statistical investigations, it is more uncomplicated and easy to draw solutions towards curbing the upcoming threat of cancer on young children.

Analysis and Reporting From the Previous Fundamental Research

From a background research, it is evident that various researchers use different methods and procedures in their studies with children. Designs and approaches also differ greatly even when the study population are similar. Despite these differences, most of the studies have done commendable research that improves the state of the existing information and knowledge about the impact of positive psychology on children.

In their study, Aspinwall and Tedeschi (2010) did not have a specific study design or methodology. Rather, their approach is basically based on analyzing a previous study by Coyne and Tennen. In essence, this research is an expert opinion in which the authors critically review a previous research and provide a response to its findings backed by evidence from other studies. It is worth noting that they specifically reject the findings by Coyne and Tennen. Here, Aspinwall and Tedeschi (2010) dispute the findings that positive thinking can cure illnesses. In addition, they reject the researchers’ focus on cancer-related mortality. Third, they reject the previous study’s method of assessing literature on posttraumatic growth and the implications of the findings. Aspinwall and Tedeschi (2010) cite various empirical and scientific evidences from other studies to reject the findings and methods by Coyne and Tennen. They conclude that rather than making conclusive statements about positive psychology being a method of healing diseases, it is important for future studies to routinely incorporate several health psychology studies and use rigorous tests of their role in human health and adaptation to various illnesses.

Most of the studies have used empirical approaches with primary or secondary data obtained from the field. Such studies have attempted to examine the topic from a scientific approach with qualitative, quantitative, or mixed study designs. Bamford and Hansen use this approach in analyzing the benefits of positive versus those of negative psychology. In this study, the authors used an empirical approach with quantitative design in which they worked with children aged between 5 and 10. The study involved exposing the participants to audios of illustrated scenarios featuring two individuals who had jointly experienced similar positive events (with good feelings), negative event (bad feelings), and ambiguous event (neutral). After this, one character develops positive and the other negative thoughts. The participants were asked to predict and explain the emotions of each character. It was found that there was a positive significant development between five and 10 years in children’s view and undertaking of positive and negative thinking. In essence, this study contradicts others such as Aspinwall and Tedeschi because it supports, with empirical evidence, the existence of a relationship between positive or negative psychology with mental health.

Variable Mothers Fathers Total
The Median The Range The Median The Range The Median The Range
The age of the parents at data gathering in terms of years 45 35–50 45 36–52 4 35–52
The age of children at the period of diagnosis (years)1 9 2–14 8 1–16 7 1–16
Children’s age at data assortment (years) 15 3–19 12 3–20 32 3–24
Time since the end of children’s curative treatment (years) 3 <1–7 6

Ethical considerations

The authors declare that all the study procedures conform to the relevant institutional and national committees on human research moral standards. The guidelines were accepted by the regional ethical board of vetting, while the members offered written and knowledgeable consent. Reporting superiority of life of the people, the research directed into two acceptance themes. The first theme is the ‘rebrightening’ and the second is unacquainted condition during treatment and the emotional scuffles after the end of curative treatment. The frightening and the unknown disorder during treatment deal with the experiences that arose during treatment, such as mini-themes. The unique reactions to the situation that is stiff to switch focus on subsidiary the child and enhancing the condition.

The initial reactions to the situation that is not controllable. The diagnosis was elaborated as messy, including the unexpected and emotional distress that could not be controlled. In spite of this, deterioration was not related to similar emotional pain as the original diagnosis. The period at which the treatment took place was both physically and emotionally tiring, involving nightmares, lack of sleep, and difficulties when eating. However, diagnosing the relapse was not related to similar emotional pain as the diagnosis carried out initially.

The thoughts about mortality and death were evident, specifically, the fears of losing the children. Again, fatalistic and religious beliefs were described as well. Some would be heard asking why God had allowed their children to pass away. At the same time, too young respondents did their best to ensure that they evaded such thoughts as this could consequently make them distraught emotionally when antagonized with such views. Infrequently, the parents had their children talking about passing away, this was much stressful and a challenging issue to deal with.

Adjustments to the condition

Concerning the diagnosis, the respondents were required to enhance to a new condition with a hospitalized child. During this period, fruitful enhancements were evident; during this time, the hospital was part and parcel of life and an area that stood for safety. Several events of appreciation and joy were also evident at the hospital, involving even the chances to spend their moments with the kids. At some other times, the stay at the hospital was regarded a psychological draining, with days that seemed to be tedious and slow too. Those who were admitted to the intensive care units were designated as specifically unaccommodating and chaotic as well.

Moreover, with a child undergoing medication, the parents dealt with emotional distress and simultaneous effort towards becoming a supportive guardian. Additionally, some described such feelings of supporting the child with cancer with attending to the upkeep of their other children. This consequently led to feeling inefficient as a parent with other children at home during the stay at the hospital. Regarding the discharge, associations with the other people with whom you were close friends had already changed. The relationship was grown and improved to some, having shared their experience about the illness.

Emotional scars

Emotional scars were evident some years after the completion of the curative treatment. At certain moments, significant challenges are encountered during the time of treatment. When weighing out the psychological status of the parents at the moments of treatment and after, most persons described it as a challenging event in today’s situations. Challenges were feeling happiness and joy and the behavior to supplement negative emotions. In other cases, the parents underwent intensive attacks of frightening and anxiety, precisely when they recalled the past encounters at the hospital stay periods or when they found themselves around a company of crowds (Aspinwall et al., 2010).The respondents defined the invasive signs and symptoms when they encountered flashbacks and external reminder painful flashbacks incidents that took part during the treatment. There was a link between the inefficient time and the experiences to tackle with the parents, and the children’s self-experiences when treating their children were identified and listed therein.

New perspectives on life

The experience from childhood cancer triggered the new perception of how delicate life is and that anybody could pass away any moment of the hour. Parents encountered a higher value of having more time with their family members and have much consideration for the well-being of the family members. In considering the current priorities and those of the past before the diagnosis, persons have upgraded and made a more significant concern in taking the greater part of their lives caring and minding the well-being of family members. Parents have also indicated that they criticize minor issues in life after the experience gotten after the diagnosis (Gorin, 2010).

Methodological considerations

Taking into consideration the methodologies utilized in the research if much crucial in the interpretation of the obtained findings. We greatly focus on discovering the suggestions given by parents who provided reports on psychological pain, which they linked with the cancer of their children and therefore required a psychotherapy exercise. As a result, the outcomes demonstrated the true experiences among the small groups of the parents. We therefore recommend that the outcomes required to be translated bearing this in mind, since these are all the components that have insinuations on the transferability of the gotten findings.


Most of the studies that were undertaken previously on the psychological influences of the childhood cancer for the parents have utilized a perspective that is based on the symptoms and frequent use of PTSD framework. Nevertheless, the diverse manifestations that are figured out in psychological pain are directed towards a multifaceted symptomatology. Depending mainly on the framework may bar the general depiction of the complete influence that cancer diagnosis may have insinuated to the parents. Our outcomes had the idea that PTSD, anxiety frameworks and depressions are critical to take into contemplation to immensely understand and elaborate the psychological sequelae of the parents. Trans-diagnostic perceptions to treatment that are based on the extensive comorbidity of the psychiatrist sign as noted in the previously made research have resulted in upsurged attention.

Some parents were noted to express positive experiences which have matched the outcomes of the study we made previously. This has demonstrated that parents who scuffle with psychological sequela and e also experience the necessity of psychotherapy still embrace and experience positive characteristics. The outcomes offer the idea that the background availability of posttraumatic growth that is positively experiencing changes that led into stagnating crisis in life.

To enhance the pliability and positive psychological improvements, positive encounters as well as positively developed psychology and the predictability of the posttraumatic growth are vital components to take into consideration in enhancement of efficient and relevant interventions for legal support of psychology. However, there are inadequate studies that have made research on the posttraumatic growth in parents who possess children with critical sicknesses. Therefore, there is need to carry out more research to completely acquire the clear influence that cancer diagnosis in a child can impose on the parents’ health psychologically.


This study discovered the psychological pain that parents who show their need for therapy after a curative medication of cancer in their children. The results indicate the temporal and multidimensional components associated with the psychological pain underwent by the parents. The parents recalled that the treatment moments contained an uncontrollable and chaotic initial condition that was completely unanticipated. There was the vitality to enhance psychologically related old perceptions to new requirements when having a child that is being hospitalized and having a complete focus towards being supportive to the children. After that, the parents underwent the vitality of changing back to the different truth away from the safety related to the stay at the hospital, emotional scars continuing years after the treatment, worries, and uncontrollable timidness that took away with it massive energy introducing new perceptions in life.

The parents whose children were diagnosed with cancer report a meaningful need for written and oral although they mostly meet the unfulfilled demand for the information. However, actively adopted strategies that include the utilization of the patient and seeking it has been related to lesser psychological support oncology and stress on the significance of the efficient data to the parents. Moreover, additional research is required among parents of children who succumbed to cancer to elaborate on their fulfillment by the professional data and investigate whether there is a possible relation between long-term psychological results and the information.

Most recent research studies based on the psychological impacts of childhood cancer for the parents have utilized perspective focused on the symptoms, primarily the framework by the name PTSD. Nevertheless, the digestively figured manifestations of the psychological pain aim at multifaceted symptomatology. Depending only on one framework may bar the general understanding of the significant influence that a cancer diagnosis whitethorn renders to parents. The outcomes obtained suggestively indicate that depression, PTSD, and apprehension frameworks are substantial in taking into note the complete understanding and description of the parents.


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