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Psychological impact of COVID-19 on parents of pediatric cancer patients
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  • antonella guido,
  • elisa marconi,
  • laura peruzzi,
  • nicola di napoli,
  • gianpiero tamburrini,
  • Giorgio Attinà,
  • mario balducci,
  • Vincenzo Valentini,
  • Antonio Ruggiero,
  • Daniela Chieffo
antonella guido
Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli
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elisa marconi
Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli
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laura peruzzi
Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli
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nicola di napoli
Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli
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gianpiero tamburrini
Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli
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Giorgio Attinà
Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli
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mario balducci
Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli
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Vincenzo Valentini
Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli
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Antonio Ruggiero
Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli
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Daniela Chieffo
Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli
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Abstract

Background. The changes and general alarm of the current COVID-19 pandemic have amplified the sense of precariousness and vulnerability for family members who, in addition to the emotional trauma of the cancer diagnosis, add the distress and fear of the risks associated with infection. The primary objectives of the present study was to investigate the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the parents of pediatric cancer patients, and to investigate the level of stress, anxiety, and the child’s quality of life perceived by the parents during the Covid-19 epidemic. Methods. The parents of 45 consecutive children with solid and haematological tumors were enrolled. Four questionnaires (Impact of Event Scale-Revised - IES-R ; Perceived Stress Scale - PSS; Spielberger State - Trait Anxiety Inventory - STAI-Y ; Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory - PedsQL) were administered to the parents at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. Results. 75% of parents exhibited remarkable levels of anxiety, with 60 subjects in state scale and 45 subjects in trait scale having scores that reached and exceeded the STAI-Y cut off. The bivariate matrix of correlation (Figure 1) found a strong significant positive correlation between the IES-R and PSS scores (r = 0.55, P < 0.001). There was a positive correlations between the PSS and PedsQL (emotional needs) scale (P < 0.001) and a negative correlation between IES-R and STAI-Y (P < 0.001). Conclusion. The results confirm that parents of pediatric cancer patients have a high psychological risk for post-traumatic symptoms, high stress levels, and the presence of clinically significant levels of anxiety.