Experiences of peer exclusion and victimization, cognitive functioning, and depression among adolescent cancer survivors in South Korea

Min Ah Kim, Jong Hyock Park, Hyeon Jin Park, Jaehee Yi, Eunmi Ahn, So Young Kim, Dong Wook Shin, Meerim Park, Yeon Jung Lim, Eun Sil Park, Kyung Duk Park, Jun Sung Hong

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7 Scopus citations


Adolescents who reenter school after treatment for cancer may face certain challenges, such as social exclusion by their peers and difficulties in cognitive functioning, due to the cancer treatment and its psychosocial sequelae. Such challenges may have an impact on their mental health. This cross-sectional study examined the impact of peer exclusion-victimization and cognitive functioning on depression among adolescent survivors of childhood cancer. A total of 175 adolescent survivors of childhood cancer between the ages of 13 and 19 years completed a self-reported questionnaire. Their mean age was 15.33 years (SD = 1.65), the mean time since diagnosis was 7.97 years (SD = 3.91), and 49.7% experienced at least 1 kind of peer exclusion in school. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to examine the effects of survivors' experiences related to peer exclusion-victimization and cognitive functioning on depression, controlling for demographic (age and gender) and cancer-related (cancer type, time since diagnosis, recurrence) characteristics. The model with peer exclusion-victimization and cognitive functioning as predictors accounted for 27.9% of the variance in depression. More experiences in peer exclusion-victimization (β=.200, p = .024) and lower cognitive functioning (β = -.465, p < .001) were associated with greater levels of depression. Understanding the impact of survivors' experiences of peer exclusion-victimization and cognitive functioning on their mental health will help professionals to provide appropriate counseling services to moderate peer exclusion-victimization as well as resources for academic performance for those cancer survivors at risk for depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-449
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018

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