Parental stress before, during, and after pediatric stem cell transplantation: A review article

C. M.J. Vrijmoet-Wiersma, R. M. Egeler, H. M. Koopman, A. Lindahl Norberg, M. A. Grootenhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Goals of work: Pediatric stem cell transplantation (SCT) is a stressful treatment for children with relapsed or high-risk malignancies, immune deficiencies and certain blood diseases. Parents of children undergoing SCT can experience ongoing stress related to the SCT period. The aim of this article was to present a literature review of articles on parental distress and adaptation before, during, and after SCT and to identify risk and protective factors. Materials and methods: The review was conducted systematically by using PubMed, Web of Science, PsychInfo, and Picarta databases. Eighteen articles met our inclusion criteria: publishing date between January 1, 1990 and January 1, 2009; studies concerning parents of children undergoing SCT; studies examining the psychological adjustment and/or stress reactions of parents as primary outcomes and studies available in English. Main results: Highest levels of parental stress are reported in the period preceding SCT and during the acute phase. Stress levels decrease steadily after discharge in most parents. However, in a subgroup of parents, stress levels still remain elevated post-SCT. Parents most at risk in the longer term display highest levels of stress during the acute phase of the SCT. Conclusions: Psychosocial assessment before SCT, during the acute phase and in the longer term, is necessary to identify parents in need for support and follow-up care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1435-1443
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Parental stress
  • Pediatric SCT
  • Review


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