Lead Author Xin Hu, PhD, Publishes Study About Mental Health Care Utilization Among Parents of Children with Cancer

April 9, 2024 by

Xin Hu UVA

Xin Hu, PhD

Xin Hu, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, is first author of a study in collaboration with the Emory University School of Medicine about mental health care utilization related to anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder among a cohort of privately insured families caring and not caring for children with cancer in 2009-2018 across the U.S.

This study showed significant 46%, 36%, and 31% relative increases in the probabilities of parents having anxiety-related, depression-related, and any mental health-related visits, respectively, among families of children with cancer relative to non-cancer families. These differences were greater in magnitude among mothers than fathers. High-deductible plans and residing in rural areas were associated with a lower probability of mental health-related visits.

The findings highlight potential benefits from existing standards of care to recommend routine psychosocial assessment and interventions among professional societies. On the other hand, it also confirms increased risks of mental health challenges from a child’s cancer diagnosis. The differences between mothers and fathers warrant future research to understand whether they may be driven by biological responses to stress, caregiver role or unmet needs.

Read more about Dr. Hu’s study in JAMA Network Open.


Filed Under: Faculty, Research