Social competence in children and young people treated for a brain tumour

Alice Emond, Lesley Edwards, Samantha Peacock, Catherine Norman, Michael Evangeli

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The purposes of this study were to provide a multi-informant assessment of social competence in 8–16-year olds treated for a brain tumour (BT) and then to compare these assessment outcomes to peers.


A cross-sectional, mixed (within and between group) design was used to compare a paediatric BT survivor group (n = 33) with an age-matched control group (n = 34) on two multi-informant (self-report, parent, teacher) social competence questionnaires: Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) and Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). Demographic factors (age, gender, social economic status (SES), intellectual ability and emotional/behavioural difficulties were investigated as potential non-insult-related risk factors.


Compared to controls, the BT group was reported to have difficulties in social adjustment, interactions and information processing, on both social competence questionnaire measures by parents and teachers, but not self-report. Social competence scores for the BT group were broadly distributed within the normal-severe clinical range, with 40 % of BT survivors scoring in the clinical range for social competence difficulties on the SRS. Lower intellectual ability and emotional/behavioural difficulties accounted for some of the group differences in social competence, but group effects remained once estimated IQ and emotional/behavioural difficulties were controlled for.


Paediatric BT survivors were reported by parents and teachers to have significant difficulties at all three levels of social competence: adjustment, interaction and information processing. The results highlight the importance of routine assessment in clinic settings for social competence and emotional/behavioural difficulties in BT survivors, to promote early identification and to ensure that survivors are referred for appropriate services and intervention as part of their multi-disciplinary care package.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4587-4595
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number11
Early online date16 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

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