Pediatric oncology patients and siblings are a population at-risk for negative psychosocial outcomes due to the various procedures, treatments, late effects, and family-based stressors associated with pediatric cancer. Pediatric oncology camps were designed to creatively address psychosocial gaps experienced by this steadily increasing population. Literature focusing on psychosocial adjustment of pediatric cancer patients and siblings is generally mixed or inconclusive, although there is some evidence suggesting increased psychosocial adjustment following camp participation. Research focusing on levels of perceived social support is limited. Although campers report social support as a main benefit of oncology camp participation, most studies are exploratory and yield inconsistent findings regarding demographic differences. In order to understand the effects of an oncology camp intervention on levels of psychosocial adjustment and perceived social support for pediatric cancer patients and siblings, an archival data set collected at a pediatric oncology camp (N = 64) was analyzed. There were 30 patients and 34 siblings in the sample, 37 females and 27 males, and with a mean age of 11.84 (SD = 2.89). Participants completed the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI) and the Social Adjustment Domain (SA) from the Child Behavior Checklist – Youth Self-Report at three time points. Data was analyzed using repeated measures MANOVAs and results indicated that psychosocial adjustment increased significantly for adolescent females but not for other demographic groups. Additionally, perceived social support was found to increase for adolescent females but decrease for adolescent males, although other demographic groups did not appear to experience significant change over time. Strengths, limitations, and areas for future research are addressed as part of the discussion.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Cancer in children -- Patients -- Psychological aspects; Cancer in children -- Patients -- Family relationships; Camps for terminally ill children -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

de Mayo, Robert R.;