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Dysfunctional remembered parenting in oncology outpatients affects psychological distress symptoms in a gender-specific manner

Authors

  • Anastasios V. Kouzoupis,

    1. 1st Department of Psychiatry, University of Athens, Medical School, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece
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    • Equally contributing authors.
  • Dimitrios Lyrakos,

    1. 1st Department of Psychiatry, University of Athens, Medical School, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece
    2. Oncology Unit, Sotiria General Hospital, University of Athens, Medical School, Athens, Greece
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    • Equally contributing authors.
  • Nikolaos Kokras,

    Corresponding author
    1. 1st Department of Psychiatry, University of Athens, Medical School, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece
    • Department of Pharmacology, University of Athens, Medical School, Athens, Greece
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  • Meropi Panagiotarakou,

    1. Oncology Unit, Sotiria General Hospital, University of Athens, Medical School, Athens, Greece
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  • Kostas N. Syrigos,

    1. Oncology Unit, Sotiria General Hospital, University of Athens, Medical School, Athens, Greece
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  • George N. Papadimitriou

    1. 1st Department of Psychiatry, University of Athens, Medical School, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece
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Nikolaos Kokras, 1st Department of Psychiatry, University of Athens, Medical School, Eginition Hospital, 74 Vas. Sofias Ave., 11528 Athens, Greece. E-mail: nkokras@med.uoa.gr

Abstract

Evidence suggests that gender differences appear in a variety of biological and psychological responses to stress and perhaps in coping with acute and chronic illness as well. Dysfunctional parenting is also thought to be involved in the process of coping with stress and illness; hence, the present study aimed to verify whether dysfunctional remembered parenting would influence psychological distress in a gender-specific manner in patients suffering from cancer. Patients attending an outpatient oncology clinic completed the Remembered Relationships with Parents (RRP), Hospital Anxiety and Depression and Spielberger's State–Trait Anxiety Inventory scales and the National Cancer Center Network Distress Thermometer. Although no baseline gender differences were detected, a multivariate analysis confirmed that anxiety and depression symptoms of men and women suffering from cancer are differentially affected by the RRP Control and Alienation scores. Women with remembered parental alienation and overprotection showed significantly more anxiety symptoms than men, whereas men were more vulnerable to remembered alienation than overprotection with regard to the Distress Thermometer scores. These results suggest that remembered dysfunctional parenting is crucially, and in a gender-specific manner, involved in the coping strategy adopted by male and female cancer patients. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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