Parent reports of children's working memory, coping, and emotional/behavioral adjustment in pediatric brain tumor patients: A pilot study.

Desjardins L, Thigpen JC, Kobritz M, Bettis AH, Gruhn MA, Ichinose M, Hoskinson K, Fraley C, Vreeland A, McNally C, Compas BE
Child Neuropsychol 24 959-974 10/01/2018


Neurocognitive problems in childhood survivors of brain tumors are well documented. Further, research has shown that problems in cognitive functioning may be associated with impairment in the use of complex strategies needed to cope with stress, including secondary control coping strategies (e.g., acceptance and cognitive reappraisal) which have been associated with fewer adjustment problems. The present study measured cognitive function, coping strategies, and adjustment in children ages 6-16 years at the time of brain tumor diagnosis and at two follow-up time-points up to 1 year post-diagnosis. In a prospective design, working memory was assessed in a total of 29 pediatric brain tumor patients prior to undergoing surgery, child self-reported coping was assessed at 6 months post-diagnosis, and parent-reported child adjustment was assessed at 12 months post-diagnosis. Significant correlations were found between working memory difficulties and secondary control coping. Secondary control coping was also negatively correlated with child attention and total problems. Regression analyses did not support secondary control coping mediating the association between working memory difficulties and child attention or total problems. These findings represent the first longitudinal assessment of the association between working memory, coping, and adjustment across the first year of a child's brain tumor diagnosis and suggest a possible role for early interventions addressing both working memory difficulties and coping in children with brain tumors.

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