Background: Approximately 27% of female breast cancer patients are diagnosed before the age of 55, a group often comprising mothers with young children. Maternal psychosocial well-being significantly impacts these children’s psychosocial well-being. This study assesses the well-being of children with mothers who have early-onset breast cancer. Methods: We examined the eldest child (up to 15 years old) of women with nonmetastatic breast cancer (<55 years old, mean age: 40) enrolled in the mother–child rehab program ‘get well together’. Using maternal reports on children’s well-being (the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire; SDQ), we describe the prevalence of abnormally high SDQ scores and identify protective and risk factors via linear regression. Results: The mean SDQ scores of 496 children (4–15 years old, mean age: 8) fell below the thresholds, indicating psychosocial deficits. However, most SDQ scores deviated negatively from the general population, especially for emotional problems, with one in ten children displaying high and one in five displaying very high deficits. Female sex, more siblings, a positive family environment and maternal psychosocial well-being were protective factors for children’s psychosocial well-being. Conclusions: Children of mothers with breast cancer may benefit from improved maternal well-being and family support. Further research is needed to identify appropriate interventions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Oncology
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)10057-10074
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 21.11.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)
  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)
  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-02 Public Health, Health Services Research and Social Medicine
  • 205-14 Haematology, Oncology
  • 110-04 Social Psychology, Industrial and Organisational Psychology

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