Background: The Parental Cancer Questionnaire (PCQ) is an instrument designed to assess adult children’s experiences (positive and negative) of having a parent with cancer. The PCQ was developed from qualitative interviews (n =11) with the adult children of cancer patients, and from an expansive review of the literature.
Aims: To investigate the factor structure and psychometric qualities of the PCQ in a sample of adult children whose parent had been diagnosed with cancer.
Methods: The PCQ was administered to 319 adult children of patients with cancer (mixed diagnoses). Together with the PCQ, participants also completed the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI), Carer’s Assessment of Difficulties Scale (CADI), Carer’s Assessment of Satisfactions Scale (CASI), Reaction to Diagnosis of Cancer Questionnaire (RDCQ), and the Grief Diagnostic instrument (GDI). Exploratory Principle Components Analysis was undertaken to determine the structure of the PCQ, reliability analysis performed, and convergent and discriminant validity tested.
Results: Exploratory Principle Components Analysis identified three dimensions of the parental cancer experience (explaining 51% of the variance amongst scale items): a) parental cancer benefits (e.g., I became closer to my sick parent during his/her cancer), b) emotional experiences (e.g., I was devastated by my parent’s cancer), and c) caregiver strain (e.g., I feel/felt there was nobody to assist or support me in caring for my parent). Reliability analyses yielded Cronbach’s α’s between 0.87 and 0.91, indicating strong internal consistencies. Convergent and discriminant validity were demonstrated by a meaningful pattern of correlation with other measures of related concepts (ranging from 0.14 to 0.68).
Conclusions: The PCQ has a clear component structure and demonstrated adequate reliability and validity to suggest its suitability for use in research contexts. Future studies to confirm the scale’s factor structure would be beneficial.