Measuring psychosocial risk in families caring for a child with cancer: The Psychosocial Assessment Tool (PAT2.0)

Maria C. McCarthy, Naomi E. Clarke, Alasdair Vance, David M. Ashley, John A Heath, Vicki A. Anderson

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Background. The Psychosocial Assessment Tool 2.0 (PAT2.0) is a recently developed screening measure for assessing psychosocial risk in families caring for a child with cancer. This study aimed to assess the external validity of the PAT2.0 in an Australian pediatric oncology sample. Further aims included examining mothers' and fathers' PAT2.0 scores, change in psychosocial risk over time, and the relationship between treatment intensity and psychosocial risk. Procedure. Parents of 143 children newly diagnosed with cancer completed the PAT2.0 at diagnosis (T1) and 6-8 months later (T2). A treatment intensity measure (ITR-2) was completed by two clinical oncologists. Results. The PAT2.0 stratified families into a 3-tiered risk framework and was consistent with existing data from the authors of the scale. The majority of families were stratified into the Universal (lowest risk) category; more than one-third of families had some elevated psychosocial risk. PAT2.0 scores of mothers and fathers were correlated and psychosocial risk remained relatively stable between T1 and T2. Treatment intensity scores were not related to PAT2.0 scores at T2. Conclusions. Findings support the external validity of the PAT2.0 as a psychosocial screener. Mothers' and fathers' ratings of risk are similar; however, multi-informant use of the PAT2.0 may be clinically useful. Psychosocial risk, as measured by the PAT2.0, is a relatively stable construct over the first months of treatment and is independent of treatment intensity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-83
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Parents
  • Pediatric oncology
  • Psychosocial

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