Demographic characteristics are shown in .
Demographic characteristics of participating mothers and children with cancer
Independent samples t-tests revealed no significant differences between lone and married/partnered mothers in one measure of negative mood or perceived post traumatic stress (POMS, IES-R; ). However, lone mothers did report significantly higher scores (negative mood/depression) on the BDI-II than married/partnered mothers. Interestingly, but not statistically significant, lone mothers showed lower scores on the IES-R than married/partnered mothers; lone mothers reported fewer total posttraumatic stress symptoms. Because the total scores for the POMS and IES-R were not significantly different between the two groups of mothers, no further analyses were conducted.
Negative Affectivity/Distress Reported by Mothers of Children Recently Diagnosed With Cancer by Marital status
Overall, all mothers’ scores, regardless of marital status, were elevated compared to normative data. Using the BDI-II cut score guidelines, a majority of mothers (50.6%) in the current study showed minimal depression, 21.9% were mildly depressed, 17.2% were moderately depressed, and 9.1% were severely depressed.
Problem-solving skills of lone mothers were not significantly different compared to married/partnered mothers, t(461) = –1.070, p =.285, although they did have a lower mean score on the SPSI-R, suggesting that they may use more negative and fewer positive problem-solving strategies.
BDI-II (r = –.42, p <.001), POMS (r = –.35, p <.001), and IES-R (r = –.37, p <.001) scores were significantly and negatively correlated with SPSI-R scores. Mothers with more positive problem-solving skills reported better mood and fewer symptoms of perceived post traumatic stress.
Independent samples t-tests revealed significant differences in maternal education, t(457) = –2.11, p <.05 and maternal age, t(459) = –2.08, p <.05 between lone and married/partnered mothers, with lone mothers having a lower mean grade level completed (Mlone = 12.14; Mmarried/partnered = 12.98) and being younger (Mlone = 33.86 years; Mmarried/partnered = 35.71 years). Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were conducted to control for maternal education and age when examining differences in depression scores on the BDI-II.
When controlling for highest maternal grade completed, the overall F test of the univariate ANCOVA was significant, F(2, 458) = 9.61, p <.001. The covariate maternal grade was also significant, F(1, 458) = 14.59, p <.001. However, when maternal grade level was controlled, BDI-II scores were no longer significantly different between lone and married/partnered mothers F(1, 458) = 3.13, ns. Variance accounted for by this solution was 4.1%.
When controlling for maternal age, the overall F test was significant, F(2, 460) = 4.64, p <.01. The covariate maternal age was significant, F(1, 460) = 4.34, p <.05. Furthermore, BDI-II scores were still significantly different between lone and married/partnered mothers, F(1, 460) = 4.06, p <.05, indicating that maternal age and marital status accounted for different variance in BDI-II scores. Variance accounted for by this solution was 2.0%.