For most parents their child's illness and hospitalization is strssful. Internal stress and over anxiousness leads to uncertainty. Parents have a variety of ways of coping when faced with such stress factors, especialy when the child has cancer. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between uncertainty in illness and mastery and coping styles in parents of pediatric cancer patients, and further to identify differences between three groups of subjects. A cross-sectional descriptive correlational design was used in this study to investigate the relationship among the three groups. The sample was composed of 59 parents of children with cancer in pediatric wards in three hospitals in Seoul : 21 in Group 4 with a child newly diagnosed with cancer : 25 in Group B, with a child under treatment and rehospitalized with a relapse : and 13 in Group C, with a child with a terminal cancer, A formalized questionnaire which included demegrapic information and consisted of 75 items was used in this study ; The Parent Perception of Uncertainty Scale(PPUS) adapted form Mishel’s Uncertainty in Illness Scale, Pearlin & Schooler's Mastery Scale(MS) and Folkman & Lazarus’s Ways of Coping Checklist(WCC) were used to measure the variables : uncertainty in illness, mastery, and coping styles. A pretest was conducted on the questionnaire items for reliability. The results gathered were analyzed using SPSS /PC/sup +/. Data analysis included descriptive correltional statistics such as ANOVA, Pearson Correlation Coefficient, amd chi square test. The conclusions of this analysis are summarized as follows : 1. A higher level of uncertainty was seen among parents of children with terminal cancer. 2. The first hypothesis that uncertainty in illness would differ among the three groups was supported(F=4.182, P=.020). The second and third hypotheses that mastery and coping styles would differ among the three groups were not supported. There was a correlation between uncertainty, mastery, and coping styles which was positive, also there was a positive correlation between mastery and coping style(r=.3744, P<.001) but a negative correlation between uncertainty md mastery(r=-.4749, P<.01). From the above results, it can be concluded that prediciting and controlling uncertainty in illness by considering coping styles and mastery are necessary for improved, efficient nursing interventions.
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