Psychosocial profile of pediatric brain tumor survivors with neurocognitive complaints.


Purpose: With more children surviving a brain tumor, neurocognitive consequences of the tumor and its treatment become apparent, which could affect psychosocial functioning. The present study therefore aimed to assess psychosocial functioning of pediatric brain tumor survivors (PBTS) in detail. Methods: Psychosocial functioning of PBTS (8-18 years) with parent-reported neurocognitive complaints was compared to normative data on health-related quality of life (HRQOL), self-esteem, psychosocial adjustment, and executive functioning (one-sample t tests) and to a sibling control group on fatigue (independent-samples t test). Self-, parent-, and teacher-report questionnaires were included, where appropriate, providing complementary information. Results: Eighty-two PBTS (mean age 13.4 years, SD 3.2, 49 % males) and 43 healthy siblings (mean age 14.3, SD 2.4, 40 % males) were included. As compared to the normative population, PBTS themselves reported decreased physical, psychological, and generic HRQOL (d = 0.39-0.62, p < 0.008). Compared to siblings, increased fatigue-related concentration problems (d = 0.57, p < 0.01) were reported, although self-reported self-esteem and psychosocial adjustment seemed not to be affected. Parents of PBTS reported more psychosocial (d = 0.81, p < 0.000) and executive problems (d = 0.35-0.43, p < 0.016) in their child than parents of children in the normative population. Teachers indicated more psychosocial adjustment problems for female PBTS aged 8-11 years than for the female normative population (d = 0.69, p < 0.025), but they reported no more executive problems. Conclusions: PBTS with parent-reported neurocognitive complaints showed increased psychosocial problems, as reported by PBTS, parents, and teachers. Implications for cancer survivors: Systematic screening of psychosocial functioning is necessary so that tailored support from professionals can be offered to PBTS with neurocognitive complaints.