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African American Families Fighting Parental Cancer Together

Trial Status: Active

The purpose of this study is to test the usefulness of a family-based program for African American parents / primary caregivers with newly diagnosed solid tumor cancer and their adolescent children. The program is designed to promote family communication reduce and depressive symptoms for adolescence.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Parents must identify as non-Hispanic Black
  • Must be diagnosed for the first time with stage I, II, or III solid tumor cancer (e.g., breast, prostate, colorectal, lung) in the last 12 months
  • Must be parent or primary caregiver of at least 1 adolescent living (target child) at home (ages 12-18) who has been told about the diagnosis

Exclusion Criteria

  • Parents with serious mental health illness that prevents them from participating in the group sessions (e.g., clinically relevant depressive symptomatology as evidenced by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale >27)
  • Parents with psychotic features or severe cognitive impairment
  • Parents not fluent in English.
  • Severely depressed adolescents (CDI-2; T-scores of 70 and higher on the total 28-item CDI-2 scale
  • Severely anxious adolescents (RCMAS-2; We will use a cutoff score of 71 (T-score) or higher to screen out African American adolescents with severe anxiety) at baseline
  • Adolescents with psychotic features
  • Adolescents with cognitive impairment (e.g., mental retardation, severe developmental disorders) as evidenced by educational records, parental report and/or clinical impression
  • Adolescents currently in active outpatient mental health treatment.


Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Status: ACTIVE
Contact: Alliric Isaac Willis
Phone: 215-955-5528

The investigators will offer a 10-week prevention program to help African American parents and caregivers (e.g., grandparents) diagnosed for the first time with Stages I, II, or III solid tumor cancer in the last 12 months who are caring for a 12-18 year old child at home who has been told about the parent's cancer diagnosis. Parents and their adolescent child(ren) will first be asked to complete a set of questionnaires that takes about 60 minutes and then will be told within 2 to 4 weeks whether they have been assigned to 1 of 2 programs that will get chosen by chance, like flipping a coin. Neither the families nor the researchers will choose what program is assigned. Both programs are designed to offer help coping with cancer. Both short- and long-term effects of the program will be evaluated. Program A involves just parents attending five educational sessions every other week (1 hour/session) with a group of parents who are also coping with cancer with specially trained group leaders. Adolescent children will not participate in these group sessions; this is the treatment as usual comparison group as most cancer centers do not meet with adolescent children who have parents diagnosed with cancer. Program B involves five group sessions (2 hours/session) every other week with other families like them that include adolescents in some of the sessions and parents and adolescents together in other sessions with specially trained group leaders. The primary, secondary, and exploratory aims of this research are: Primary Aim: Aim 1. Compare the efficacy of Families Fighting Cancer Together (FFCT) to Treatment-as-Usual (TAU) in reducing depressive symptoms (CDI) in AA adolescents at post-treatment using an intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis. Secondary Aim: Aim 2. Compare the efficacy of Families Fighting Cancer Together (FFCT) to Treatment-as-Usual (TAU) in reducing parental stress (PCQ) in AA parents at post-treatment using ITT analysis. Exploratory Aims: Aim 3a. Determine trajectories of adolescent depressive symptoms (CDI), anxiety (RCMAS), and parental stress (PCQ) from baseline to 12-month follow-up. Aim 3b. Determine whether perceived levels of group support (HGE), adolescent gender and age, parent's marital and socioeconomic status, and parent's cancer staging modify the effects of treatment on adolescent depression (CDI) and anxiety (RCMAS). Aim 3c. Determine whether pre-post changes in parent-adolescent attachment and communication mediate the association between treatment and adolescent depressive symptoms (CDI) and anxiety (RCMAS) at 6- and 12-month follow-ups.

Trial Phase Phase NA

Trial Type Treatment

Lead Organization
University of Delaware

  • Primary ID 1165185-1
  • Secondary IDs NCI-2020-01294
  • ID NCT03567330