Perceived physical appearance and adjustment of children with newly diagnosed cancer: A path analytic model Academic Article uri icon


  • More intensive medical treatment protocols have been initiated with the goal of improving survival of pediatric cancer patients. Evaluation of the adjustment of this cohort of children with newly diagnosed cancer being treated with these modern regimens is essential in order to enhance quality of life. Children with cancer who experience disease and treatment-related changes in physical appearance are hypothesized to be at greater risk for psychological and social adjustment problems given society's attitudes toward visible physical differences. Within a risk and resistance theoretical framework, perceived physical appearance was investigated as a predictor of depressive symptoms, social anxiety, and general self-esteem in newly diagnosed pediatric cancer patients. In support of the a priori conceptual model, path analysis findings indicate that perceived physical appearance has direct and indirect effects on depressive symptoms and social anxiety with the indirect effects mediated by general self-esteem. Exploratory analysis suggests that the effect of perceived physical appearance on general self-esteem may be attenuated by modifiable competence/adequacy domains which have implications for the development of treatment interventions for children with newly diagnosed cancer.

author list (cited authors)

  • Varni, J. W., Katz, E. R., Colegrove, R., & Dolgin, M.

citation count

  • 50

complete list of authors

  • Varni, JW||Katz, ER||Colegrove, R||Dolgin, M

publication date

  • June 1995