Get access

Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and health-related quality of life and its association with social support in ambulatory prostate cancer patients

Authors


Anja Mehnert, Research staff, Department of Medical Psychology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52-S35, 20246 Hamburg, Germany (e-mail: mehnert@uke.uni-hamburg.de).

Abstract

MEHNERT A., LEHMANN C., GRAEFEN M., HULAND H. & KOCH U. (2010) European Journal of Cancer Care19, 736–745
Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and health-related quality of life and its association with social support in ambulatory prostate cancer patients

The aim of this study is to identify anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in prostate cancer patients and to investigate the association with social support and health-related quality of life. A total of 511 men who had undergone prostatectomy were surveyed during ambulatory follow-up care for an average of 27 months after surgery using standardised self-report measures (e.g. Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist – Civilian Version, Illness-Specific Social Support Scale, Short-Form Health Survey). Seventy-six per cent of patients evaluated their disease as ‘not’ or a ‘little threatening’. The cancer diagnosis and uncertainty were most frequently reported as ‘distressing’, while medical treatment and doctor–patient interaction were most frequently evaluated as ‘most helpful’. The number of patients reporting increased levels of psychological distress was 16%, with 6% demonstrating signs of having severe mental health problems'. No higher levels of anxiety and depression were observed in cancer patients compared with age-adjusted normative comparison groups. Lack of positive support, detrimental interactions and perceived threat of cancer were found to be predictors of psychological co-morbidity (P < 0.001). Lack of positive support, detrimental interactions, threat of cancer, disease stage and age significantly predicted mental health (P < 0.001), whereas the impact of social support on physical health was rather weak. Findings emphasise the need for routine psychosocial screening.

Ancillary