Objective: The goal of this prospective study was to evaluate psychological reactions in children supposed to be a donor for their siblings with cancer.
Participants: Fifteen children whose siblings had cancer. They are donor candidates for stem cell transplantation during the period from 2005 to 2010. The median of their age was 10 years old ( range 6-14 ). Their parents were also asked to participate in this study.
Methods: Investigators contacted them twice. Structured interviews were conducted face to face before the transplantation. And questionnaires were sent by mail over 6 months after the transplantation.
In structured interviews, 30 open- and close-ended questions, scale of social support, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index (PTSD-RI), Children’s Behavior Checklist (CBCL) evaluated by parents were used as a tool.
Mailed questionnaires consisted of 10 open- and closed-ended questions and the PTSD-RI.
Results: PTSD-RI showed mild to severe posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) before donation in 14 of the 15 (93%) candidates of donors. Existing circumstances evaluated by themselves, score of social support and score of CBCL were not correlated with severity of PTSS. Nine of the siblings became HLA matched donors and cooperated in stem-cell transplantation. Five of the nine donors and seven siblings who were not candidates responded to the follow-up questioners. In 4 of 5 siblings who underwent donation (80%) and 2 of 7 siblings (29%) reported that PTSS was decreased.
Conclusion: The psychological problems of children who are supposed to be donate their stems cells to their siblings are easily understandable using the concept of PTSS.