A prospective and retrospective pilot study examining the use of Harter's self-perception manual in assessing self-concept in pediatric cancer patients
Campbell, Wendy A.
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Current research has shown pediatric cancer patients to be at greater risk for lowered selfesteem, altered body image, and an overall change in self-concept. Even if patients are only at an increased risk, the development of a tool to identify these problems is necessary. Periodic screening of all patients would be beneficial and when problems are identified, intervention can take place. Research previously conducted with various tools concluded that cancer patients may select answers that allow them to appear "normal" or "supernormal" and therefore defensively deny their cancer (Puuko 1997). Currently there is not a unifonn instrument used to test these factors. To this end, a protocol was devised to evaluate the use of Harter's Self-Perception Manual in the pediatric cancer population and to test the current theories. Dr. Susan Harter's Self-perception Questionnaires have previously been used for prospective research in various pediatric populations and are designed specifically to allow patients to answer truthfully. The questionnaires have been determined to be a valid, reliable instrument to measure a child's self-perception of their self-concept. Further data (to come from the prospective study) is needed to determine if the scale is useful for pediatric cancer patients. In addition, the retrospective use of Harter's scale will be piloted in this protocol in order to determine how children really felt during trea1ment. In an effort to compensate for developmental advances/processes and issues with accurate recall specific limits have been placed on retrospective participants.
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