Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

Nina Kadan-Lottick


In this report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), we described marriage and divorce rates in survivors of childhood cancer, as compared to a sibling control group and the general U.S. population. We also sought to identify patient and treatment characteristics that were associated with survivor marital status. This study included 8,930 five-year survivors of childhood malignancy and 2,855 sibling controls participating in the CCSS. Data on marital status, sociodemographic factors, and current health status were obtained from questionnaires; detailed disease and treatment histories were available from medical records. Marital status of the U.S. population was obtained from the 2002 Current Population Survey of the U.S. Census. We found that survivors were more likely to have never married than both sibling (odds ratio [OR] = 1.79; 95 % CI = 1.65-1.94; p < 0.0001) and population controls (OR = 2.29; 95 % CI = 2.19-2.38; p < 0.0001), with persistence of trends across age and gender strata. Once married, survivors divorced at rates equivalent to controls. In adjusted analysis, we found that several survivor characteristics predicted never-married status, including treatment involving cranial radiation (OR = 2.41; p < 0.0001), CNS tumor diagnosis (OR = 2.05; p < 0.0001), history of growth hormone deficiency (OR = 2.02; p < 0.0001), and unemployment secondary to disability (OR = 1.78; p = 0.0001). Survivor characteristics predictive of divorce included unemployment (OR = 1.91; p < 0.0001, for unemployed or disabled), lower educational achievement (OR = 1.74; p < 0.0001, for non-college graduates), and psychological distress (OR = 1.60; p < 0.0001). This study confirms prior reports of lower marriage rates in survivors of childhood cancer, providing further evidence that this population struggles with psychosocial adjustment to adult life.