• fatigue;
  • depression;
  • insomnia;
  • anxiety;
  • cancer;
  • oncology



Depressive symptoms, fatigue, and low sleep quality are common symptoms during and after breast cancer (BC) treatment. In the present study, the relationship between trait anxiety and these symptoms in a long follow-up period was examined.


This was a prospective study. Participants, composed of 163 women with BC and 224 women with benign breast problems (BBPs), completed questionnaires on depressive symptoms, fatigue, and sleep quality before diagnosis and 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after diagnosis (BBP group) or surgical treatment (BC group). In addition, patients completed a questionnaire on trait anxiety before diagnosis.

Results and Conclusions

Trait anxiety was the most significant predictor for depressive symptoms (p < 0.001) and lower sleep quality (p = 0.040) at 2-year follow-up. For fatigue, fatigue at baseline and trait anxiety together was the most important predictor (p < 0.001). Linear mixed model analyses showed that there was an interaction effect of time with trait anxiety and with diagnosis for depressive symptoms (p = 0.001 and p < 0.001) and fatigue (p = 0.004 and p < 0.001). There was no interaction effect of time with trait anxiety or diagnosis for sleep quality (p = 0.055 and p = 0.225). Together with diagnosis, trait anxiety was an important determinant of depressive symptoms, fatigue, and low sleep quality following diagnosis of BBP or BC and seemed to be a common factor in these persisting symptoms. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.