The Association of Perceived Social Support with Anxiety over Time in Parents of Children with Serious Illnesses.

Year of Publication


Date Published

2019 Nov 07

ISSN Number



<p> Parenting a child with a serious life-threatening illness (SLTI) may impact parents' mental health. The protective association of social support with anxiety over time following an acute medical event has not been empirically tested in a sample of parents of children with oncologic and nononcologic serious illnesses. To test the potential association of perceived social support with anxiety in parents of children with SLTIs over time. Prospective cohort study. Two hundred parents of 158 children in the Decision Making in Serious Pediatric Illness study, conducted at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Parental anxiety and perceived social support were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Social Provisions Scale (SPS). We performed bivariate linear regressions to test cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between the SPS and anxiety scores at baseline, 12 months, and 24 months. The average SPS total and subscale scores decreased significantly from baseline to 12 months, and increased from 12 to 24 months. The average HADS-Anxiety scores decreased significantly from baseline to 12 months, and remained stable at 24 months. Cross-sectionally, total SPS scores were negatively associated with anxiety scores at each time point. Longitudinally, SPS scores were associated with anxiety scores, although this association weakened in adjusted modeling. Over a two-year period, higher levels of perceived social support were associated with lower levels of anxiety in parents of seriously ill children. Clinicians and researchers should work to optimize social support for families to improve parental mental health outcomes.</p>



Alternate Title

J Palliat Med




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