ABSTRACT

Although childhood cancer is recognized as one of the most distressing experiences a family may encounter, the psychological implications of surviving a life-threatening illness in childhood are not well understood at present. Research on children in treatment has emphasized the importance of the quality of marital relationships, social support, and the changes that occur

over time as the family adjusts to treatment regimes, remissions, and eventual cure or death (Blotcky, Raczynski, Gurwitch, & Smith, 1985; Kupst et al., 1982, 1984; Kupst & Schulman, 1988). In the case of a life-threatening disease in which cure has been achieved, the challenge to family and pediatric researchers is to understand these children and families as they would other, presumed normal, groups, and at the same time appreciate the specific ways in which they may differ from others.