Perceptions of communication, family adaptability and cohesion: A comparison of adolescents newly diagnosed with cancer and their parents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe and compare adolescent and parent perspectives on communication, family adaptability and cohesion, as well as relationships among these variables, during the first month of an adolescent's cancer diagnosis. Methods: Seventy adolescent-parent dyads were enrolled as part of a larger multi-site study. The adolescents ranged in age from 11 to 19, and 61% were males. Parents were predominately mothers (83%). Dyads were predominately non-Hispanic Caucasian (63%). Measures included the Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale and the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale (FACES II). Paired t-tests, Pearson correlations, intra-class correlation coefficients and multiple linear regression analyses were completed. Results: Adolescent scores on communication, family adaptability and cohesion were significantly lower than parent scores. The inter-dyadic agreement between adolescents and parents was low. Communication, family adaptability and cohesion were examined separately for adolescents and for parents, and significant relationships were found. Both adolescent- and parent-perceived communication was significantly associated with family adaptability and cohesion outcomes. Conclusions: Differences were found in adolescent and parent perceptions of communication, family adaptability and cohesion. When both adolescents and parents had better perceived communication, this was associated with better perceived family adaptability and cohesion. Results suggest that the development of interventions to enhance adolescent-parent communication could help foster better family adaptability and cohesion, which may ultimately impact their psychological adjustment. In addition, understanding the degree to which adolescents and parents disagree on their perceptions, including the results that parents generally have more favorable perceptions, may be a useful starting point when developing interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014


  • Adolescent-parent communication
  • Adolescents
  • Cancer
  • Family adaptability
  • Family cohesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Perceptions of communication, family adaptability and cohesion: A comparison of adolescents newly diagnosed with cancer and their parents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this