Aims: To investigate the prevalence and types of benefits reported by adult children of patients with cancer and the predictors of benefit finding.
Methods: A convenience sample of adult children of patients with cancer (n = 319) completed a comprehensive on-line or pen and paper survey that included measures of benefit finding and potential predictors of this outcome, including gender of parent, outcome and duration of illness, caregiving experience, and emotional experiences including reaction to diagnosis and grief and loss.
Results: Between 95-98% of participants reported some degree of beneficial change with the most strongly reported benefits relating to improved relationships with the parent with cancer, and an enhanced valuing of family overall. The proposed model explained 15.3% of the variance in benefit finding (p < .01). Greater benefit finding was positively associated with stronger emotional experiences arising from parental cancer, and satisfaction with the caregiving role. Outcome of parental cancer was also a significant predictor of benefit finding, and the relationship between these variables was further examined using moderator analysis, however no firm conclusions could be drawn.
Conclusions: Benefit finding is a common outcome for adult children experiencing parental cancer, particularly in relation to familial relationships and valuing family. Higher emotional reactions and outcome of parental cancer as significant predictors of parental cancer provide some support for the applicability of theories of post-traumatic growth to this experience.