The Truce evaluation research study

What is Truce?

Truce, is an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based group intervention developed for young people (aged 14-22 years) who have a parent with cancer. Truce is designed to help young people deal with difficult thoughts and feelings, help young people communicate with others (especially their family) and improve how they feel about their situation.

Why is it needed?

Each year, more than 21,000 Australian adolescents and young adults (aged 12-25 years) have a parent who is newly diagnosed with cancer.[i] Research has shown that having a parent with cancer can have a variety of effects upon a young person, from disruption to normal family, home and school life through to an increase in psychological distress and symptoms such as increased anxiety, depression, behavioural problems and changes in normal functioning[ii],[iii].

Truce has been developed in order to address a need present in young people who have a parent with cancer, in order to equip them and their families with strategies to assist with the difficulties that can arise from having a parent with cancer.

Why is Truce being evaluated?

It is important to ensure that programs that are developed to reduce psychological distress in young people are effective and useful. The aim of the research study is to determine whether Truce is effective in decreasing the psychological distress and improving the wellbeing of young people who have a parent with cancer. Secondly, the study aims to determine whether any effects of participation in the group are being maintained after the group has finished.

The evaluation of Truce is a CanTeen-led project, in collaboration with University of Sydney, University of Western Sydney, University of Melbourne, and the University of New South Wales and supported by funding from Rotary Health Australia.

How is Truce being evaluated?

The program is being assessed through the administration of three surveys – at the beginning, at the immediate end of the group, and then 2 months after the group finishes. The surveys ask questions about feelings, ways of coping with stress, family situation and general wellbeing.

The study is being conducted through a controlled trial.  This means that some people complete the surveys first before starting the group (wait-list control condition). That way we can compare the effects of Truce to a control group.

Ethics

The Truce program and associated research study has been approved by the University of Wollongong Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC No.: HE11/482). Any person with concerns or complaints about the conduct of this study should contact the ethics officer on (02) 4221 4457 or email eves@uow.edu.au.

Truce has been registered as a clinical trial through the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (Trial ID: ACTRN12615000761561)

Contact Details

For more details about Truce as a support program, click here.

Any queries regarding Truce or the research study evaluating Truce, feel free to contact the research team on 1800 234 007, or truce@canteen.org.au.

References

[i] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare A. Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality Books. Canberra: AIHW; 2011.

[ii] Romer G, Barkmann C, Schulte-Markwort M, Thomalla G, Riedesser P. Children of somatically ill parents: A methodological review. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2002;7:17-38.

[iii] Visser A, Huizinga GA, Van der Graaf WTA, Hoekstra HJ, Hoekstra-Weebers JEHM. The impact of parental cancer on children and the family: A review of the literature. Cancer Treat Rev. 2004;30:683-94.