Examining the self-reported psychological functioning of parents of children with cystic fibrosis
Schmitz, Tiana Lynn
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Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common genetic, life-threatening disease among Caucasians, which impacts multiple organs and requires extensive therapies. Although adults with CF can typically care for their medical needs independently, children and adolescents with CF require considerable assistance from caregivers. Previous research has indicated that parents who have children with CF are at increased risk for psychopathology (i.e., depression and anxiety). However, there is extant research examining the psychological functioning of Canadian parents of children and adolescents with CF. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to extend the current literature by examining psychological functioning (i.e., anxiety, depression, health anxiety, anxiety sensitivity, and intolerance to uncertainty) in Canadian parents who have children and adolescents with CF. Ten parents of children with CF, ages 37-49 (M = 43.10, SD = 4.012) completed a battery of measures designed to assess anxiety and associated constructs. Results demonstrated that the majority of constructs of interest were significantly associated, with the exception that both heath anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty were not significantly associated with all constructs. Results also showed a statistically significant difference between ratings of health anxiety by parents in the current sample and a normative sample. The current study is the first of its kind to explore anxiety, depression, health anxiety, anxiety sensitivity, and intolerance to uncertainty in a population of Canadian parents of children and adolescents with CF. Information gleaned from this study will improve our understanding of the functioning of this group of parents. The knowledge obtained is essential to facilitate early identification of psychological distress in these parents leading to the development of tailored psychological interventions.