The Effect of Filial Therapy on Depressive Symptoms of Children with Cancer and Their Mother’s Depression, Anxiety, and Stress: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Rehabilitation, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Child Mental Health Center, Mofid Children Hospital,Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

4 Protemics Research Center, Department of Basic Science, School of Rehabilitation, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background: Childhood cancer is an overwhelming life event that can completely change the lives of the sufferers
and their parents. Todays, advances of medical science have shifted the fetal nature of childhood cancer to chronic one
exposing children and their family to behavioral and psychosocial problems. The aim of this study was to investigate the
effect of filial therapy on children’s depressive symptoms and their mother’s stress, anxiety, and depression. Materials
and Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, 32 mothers with their children who suffered from cancer were
recruited (16 in each group). During a 10-week training sessions, filial therapy group underwent child-parent relation
therapy (CPRT). Training sessions were held once a week. Control group received no training and only individual
counseling sessions were held for them we needed. Both groups were assessed before and after the intervention using
depression, anxiety, and stress questionnaire-21 (DASS-21), children depression inventory (CDI), and Wong-Baker
faces pain rating scale (WBFPRS). Sample randomization and data analysis were conducted by using SPSS (version
20) and running independent t-test and chi-square test. P value< 0.05 was set as the significant level. Results: Mothers
in the filial therapy group experienced significant decrease in their level of depression, anxiety, and stress in the posttest
(p < 0.001). In contrast to filial therapy group, mothers in the control group did not show an improvement in their
level of depression, anxiety, and stress. Moreover, the results of the current investigative showed that depression
of children in the filial therapy group significantly reduced at post-test (p < 0.001). On the other hand, the mean of
children’s depression in the control group remained steady. Conclusion: The findings of the present study revealed
that using filial therapy could reduce the depression of children with cancer and their parent’s depression, anxiety, and
stress. Accordingly, we suggest filial therapy programs as a routine for addressing psychosocial problems of children
with cancer and their families.


Main Subjects

Volume 20, Issue 10
October 2019
Pages 2935-2941
  • Receive Date: 19 February 2019
  • Revise Date: 10 May 2019
  • Accept Date: 10 October 2019
  • First Publish Date: 10 October 2019