Hopelessness and Depression Levels of Parents of Children with Cancer


The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine the hopelessness and depression levels of parents ofchildren diagnosed with cancer and undergoing cancer treatment and factors affecting these levels. The studywas carried out with parents of 44 children receiving treatment in a paediatric haematology clinic of a universityhospital. Data were collected using a survey form, the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS) and the Beck DepressionScale (BDS). The mean BDS score of the mothers and fathers was 18.3±11.30 and 15.2±11.33, respectively. Themean BHS score of the mothers was 6.45±4.40, whereas the mean BHS score of the fathers was 5.88±4.27. Theresults showed that the levels of hopelessness and depression among the mothers were higher than among thefathers (p<0.001). There was a positive relationship between the hopelessness and depression scores of the mothersand the fathers (p<0.05), and the levels of hopelessness and depression scores of the fathers increased as those ofthe mothers increased. A weak financial situation of the family increased the hopelessness and depression levelsof the fathers. The hopelessness and depression levels of the mothers who were supported by their families andrelatives were decreased compared to those without such support (p<0.05). The results show that the parentsof children with cancer face many psychosocial and spiritual problems. Using simple screening tools, nursescan identify at-risk parents and direct them to support services. We conclude that actively encouraging familiesto avail themselves of support resources and supporting them financially would positively affect the levels ofdepression and hopelessness of parents of children with cancer.