A hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is used as a treatment for cancer or nonmalignant hematological disorders in children. Little information is known about how an HSCT affects the mothers of these patients. The purposes of this repeated measures study were to examine the stress responses of mothers at four times during their child's hospitalization for an HSCT and to determine the relationships among mothers' stress responses and the resources for coping and social support. Maternal anxiety mean scores decreased significantly over time although a majority of the mothers had moderately high anxiety scores at all times. Mean scores of mothers' depressive symptomatologies decreased significantly over time. A majority of the mothers had depressive symptomatology scores above the cut-off score that indicates being at-risk for developing depression. At each of four data collection times, a specific coping style (defined as active reviewing of feelings or information associated with the situation) significantly explained the variance in mothers' scores for anxiety, depressive symptomatology, somatic complaints, and sleep behavior. Social support significantly explained differences in depressive symptomatology scores only at data collection times 1 and 3. Health care providers need to assess mothers for stress responses and assist them in dealing with their feelings and in understanding the information associated with an HSCT.
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