The psychosocial impact of completing childhood cancer treatment

a systematic review of the literature

Claire E. Wakefield*, Jordana McLoone, Belinda Goodenough, Kate Lenthen, David R. Cairns, Richard J. Cohn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To review the results of any published research study examining the psychosocial functioning of children who have recently completed cancer treatment. METHODS: Five electronic databases were searched (from 1978 to 2008). Of 1,734 identified articles, 19 met all inclusion criteria. Four articles utilized a qualitative methodology, thirteen utilized a quantitative methodology, and two used mixed methods. RESULTS: Children may experience positive psychosocial outcomes on treatment completion, including high self-worth, good behavioral conduct, and improved mental health and social behavior. However, they may also experience significant negative outcomes, including lower levels of psychological well-being, mood, liveliness, self-esteem, and motor and physical functioning, as well as increased anxiety, problem behaviors, and sleeping difficulties. CONCLUSIONS: Completing treatment can be a psychologically complex time for children as they wait to make the transition from "cancer patient" to long-term "cancer survivor." Further high-quality research targeting the needs of these children is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-274
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

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    Wakefield, C. E., McLoone, J., Goodenough, B., Lenthen, K., Cairns, D. R., & Cohn, R. J. (2010). The psychosocial impact of completing childhood cancer treatment: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of pediatric psychology, 35(3), 262-274.