Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Illness Perception in Young Survivors of Childhood Cancer

Elisa Kern de Castro, Renata Klein Zancan, Lauro José Gregianin


Aim: This study assessed the presence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and their relation to illness perception in a sample of 65 young survivors of childhood cancer, mean age of 19 years (SD = 2.70) and who had completed treatment, on average, seven years ago.  Method: The instruments used were: sociodemographic and clinical form, PTSD - Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist – Civilian (PCL-C) and Illness Perception questionnaire - Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire for Healthy People (IPQ-RH). Results: The presence of PTSD symptoms ranged between 9.2% and 18.5% in this sample, and illness perception was correlated with the symptoms of this disorder. Emotional representations and Coherence (IPQ-RH) were predictive of Re-experience symptoms (ß = .0370, p < .01; ß = .261, p < .05, respectively). Emotional Representation subscale (IPQ-RH) was also predictive of Avoidance symptoms (ß = .330, p < .001). Conclusion: It was concluded that illness perception should be examined to prevent PTSD symptoms in childhood cancer survivors.


posttraumatic stress disorder; illness perception; survivors; childhood cancer