Disparities in mental health between rural and nonrural cancer survivors: a preliminary study
Article first published online: 6 JUL 2009
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Volume 19, Issue 6, pages 637–645, June 2010
How to Cite
Burris, J. L. and Andrykowski, M. (2010), Disparities in mental health between rural and nonrural cancer survivors: a preliminary study. Psycho-Oncology, 19: 637–645. doi: 10.1002/pon.1600
- Issue published online: 26 MAY 2010
- Article first published online: 6 JUL 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 MAY 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 15 MAY 2009
- Manuscript Received: 21 JAN 2009
- healthcare disparities;
- mental health;
- rural health
Objective: While much research has sought to identify disparities in cancer incidence, survival, and treatment, little research has sought to identify disparities in mental health (MH) outcomes among cancer survivors. The present study aims to identify disparities in MH outcomes between rural and nonrural cancer survivors.
Methods: Cancer survivors who met eligibility criteria were identified through the Kentucky SEER Cancer Registry. Rural status was determined by 2003 USDA Rural–Urban Continuum Codes. 116 (n=54 rural, 62 nonrural) survivors with diagnoses of breast (n=42), hematologic (n=39), or colorectal (n=35) cancer completed mail-back questionnaires and/or a telephone interview.
Results: Rural cancer survivors reported poorer MH functioning (effect size (ES)=0.45 SD), greater symptoms of anxiety (ES=0.70) and depression (ES=0.47), greater distress (ES=0.41), and more emotional problems (ES=0.47) than nonrural cancer survivors. Rural and nonrural cancer survivors did not differ consistently in regard to positive MH outcomes, such as benefit finding. The pattern of results was maintained when adjusted for education and physical functioning.
Conclusions: Clinically important disparities in MH outcomes were evident between rural and nonrural cancer survivors. Interventions aimed at raising access and utilization of MH services may be indicated for cancer survivors in rural areas. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.