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Keywords:

  • cognitive stress theory;
  • ecological model;
  • distress;
  • social support;
  • cancer;
  • oncology

Abstract

Background

Co-occurring depression in women with cancer can complicate cancer treatment, lead to poor treatment adherence for both conditions, and decrease survival if left untreated. The purpose of this study was to explore risk factors for depression among Latina breast cancer survivors.

Methods

A closed-ended questionnaire was administered by telephone to 68 Latinas diagnosed with breast cancer within the past 5 years. Depression symptoms were measured using the Patient Health Questionaire-9 with the Endicott substitutive criteria applied. The Cognitive Appraisal Health Scale and the Brief COPE were used to measure appraisal and coping. Descriptive statistics, bivariate and multiple linear regression analyses were completed.

Results

Approximately 45.6% of women reported depressive symptoms. Multivariate analyses showed that a cognitive appraisal variable (decreased challenge or the potential to overcome), coping variables (increased acceptance, less positive reframing, less active coping, less use of emotional support, substance use and more self-blame), poor body image, less family and peer support to be significantly associated with an increased risk for depression. Intrapersonal variables accounted for the greatest explained variance (69%).

Conclusions

This study identified several risk factors for depression. Study findings highlight the need for intervention programs to help women normalize emotions and thoughts related to cancer and its treatments, and to improve their cognitive abilities to overcome, accept, and positively reframe cancer and other difficult situations women face throughout the cancer continuum. The importance of family and peer support to improve depressive symptoms was also evident. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.