Fears, Stress and Burnout in Parents of Children with Chronic Conditions : Treatment with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness

Abstract: The aim of the present research was threefold: to investigate the fears of parents of children with chronic conditions; to evaluate the effectiveness of their treatment with either mindfulness-based therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT); and to assess treatment outcome in terms of health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Long-term stress can lead to some form of chronic stress reaction. In study one, fears of future cancer recurrence and of late effects of treatment were most prominent among parents of CNS tumour patients. Study two investigated the effectiveness of two group-based interventions on stress and burnout among parents of children with chronic conditions. Parents were offered either a CBT or a mindfulness programme. Both interventions significantly decreased stress and burnout. Study three focused on the HRQoL and life satisfaction of the parents in study two. The results indicate improvements for participants in both treatment groups regarding certain areas of HRQoL and life satisfaction. To conclude, fears concerning future cancer recurrence and late effects of treatment are most prominent among parents of children with cancer. Another conclusion is that CBT and mindfulness decrease stress and burnout and may have a positive effect on areas of HRQoL and life satisfaction.