Psychosocial support in patients with multiple myeloma at time of diagnosis: who wants what?


Correspondence to: Department of General Internal Medicine and Psychosomatics, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 410, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany. E-mail:



The aim of this study was to examine interest in psychosocial interventions among patients with multiple myeloma at time of diagnosis as well as associated factors.


Patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma were recruited from our outpatient myeloma unit at the Heidelberg University Hospital. Patients completed questionnaires that included a checklist on desired psychosocial interventions and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9-item (PHQ-9) depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale (GAD-7) anxiety scales. Medical data were extracted from the patients' electronic records.


The survey was completed by 114 out of the 130 myeloma patients. Half of the patients (51%) desired psychosocial interventions. The most common preferences were relaxation techniques (21%), psychological counseling (20%), and peer support groups (18%). Approximately 24% of the patients reported symptoms of depression, and 8% reported symptoms of anxiety. Patients with symptoms of depression had twice as many preferences for psychosocial interventions as nondepressed patients. They more frequently desired individual psychotherapy (p = 0.035) and peer support groups (p = 0.015). In general, lower age was associated with greater interest in psychosocial interventions. Medical status was not strongly associated with interest in psychosocial interventions.


A high percentage (51%) of patients with multiple myeloma has psychosocial intervention desires at the time of diagnosis. The greatest interest was found in depressed and younger patients. However, depressed patients do not prefer a single intervention form but rather show a broad variability of wishes, so ‘one size does not fit all’. Therefore, to reach all patients in need, a choice of psychosocial interventions should be offered. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.