Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 3749–3757 | Cite as

Caregiver perspectives on the social competence of pediatric brain tumor survivors

  • Matthew C. Hocking
  • Lauren F. Quast
  • Cole Brodsky
  • Janet A. Deatrick
Original Article


Pediatric brain tumor survivors are at risk for significant difficulties related to social competence. Little research has examined factors that contribute to survivor social problems.


The current study is grounded in a model of social competence for youth with brain disorder and used qualitative and quantitative methods to obtain caregiver perspectives on survivor social competence and identify pertinent risk and resistance factors.


The study occurred in two phases, including focus groups with 36 caregivers of 24 survivors and confirmatory interviews with 12 caregivers of 12 survivors.


Qualitative content analyses resulted in three themes that were illustrative of the model of social competence. Themes included (1) the impact of survivor sequelae on social function; (2) the role of family in evaluating and promoting survivor social development; and (3) the match between the survivor’s social context and developmental needs. Quantitative data supported the associations between survivor social skills, survivor executive function, and family functioning.


Overall, findings underscore the influence of risk and resistance factors across different systems on survivor social competence and suggest directions for future research and intervention efforts.


Pediatric brain tumor Qualitative Social competence 



The National Cancer Institute funded this research (1K07CA178100). The authors thank all study participants and Julie Baran, Lauren Lipshutz, Linda Maldonado, Kelly Mannion, Mark McCurdy, and Elise Turner for their roles in data analyses.

Compliance with ethical standards

An institutional review board approved all study procedures and all study procedures occurred in compliance with ethical standards for human participants research.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

520_2017_3805_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Oncology, The Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.School of NursingUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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