Impact of COVID-19 on Lifestyle Habits and Emotional State of Childhood Cancer Survivors and Their Parents

Maya Yardeni, Omer Zvi Shaked, Reut Pienik, Michal Ben-Ami, Eve Stern, Hana Golan, Dalia Waldman, Doron Gothelf, Dalit Modan-Moses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic and associated social distancing measures affected the physical and emotional state of children and parents worldwide. Survivors of childhood cancer may be particularly vulnerable to these effects. We aimed to evaluate the lifestyle habits and emotional states of childhood cancer survivors and their parents during the COVID-19 outbreak. Methods: Lifestyle habits and emotional distress were assessed in 43 childhood cancer survivors (aged 8–21 years) and their parents before and during the COVID-19 lockdown, using the PROMIS anxiety and depression modules and the “Mabat Youth” questionnaire. Results: Most parents (80.5%) reported eating more family meals during home confinement compared to their usual routine. Patients’ physical activity levels did not change significantly during confinement, leisure-related screen time nearly doubled (p < 0.001), and sleep duration increased (p = 0.006). Anxiety levels of children (p = 0.045) and parents (p = 0.02) increased during confinement compared to pre-pandemic levels, with no significant changes in depression levels. Conclusions: Contrary to concerns regarding lifestyle habits during the COVID-19 lockdown, eating behaviors of childhood cancer survivors improved, sleep duration increased, and physical activity remained unchanged. Still, screen time increased significantly. Parents of childhood cancer survivors reported higher anxiety levels for themselves and their children during home confinement. Our findings may assist medical and psycho-social teams in guiding parents of cancer survivors during similar circumstances in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3932
Issue number18
StatePublished - 11 Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


The study was supported by an Israel Cancer Association Grant—The ICA-USA Board of Directors, in memory of Leslie W. Spero.

FundersFunder number
Israel Cancer Association


    • COVID-19
    • anxiety
    • childhood cancer survivors
    • depression
    • lifestyle habits


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