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Adolescent survivors of childhood cancer: are they vulnerable for psychological distress?


Gianinazzi, Micol E; Rueegg, Corina S; Wengenroth, Laura; Bergstraesser, Eva; Rischewski, Johannes; Ammann, Roland A; Kuehni, Claudia E; Michel, Gisela (2013). Adolescent survivors of childhood cancer: are they vulnerable for psychological distress? Psycho-Oncology, 22(9):2051-2058.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to (i) evaluate psychological distress in adolescent survivors of childhood cancer and compare them to siblings and a norm population; (ii) compare the severity of distress of distressed survivors and siblings with that of psychotherapy patients; and (iii) determine risk factors for psychological distress in survivors.
METHODS: We sent a questionnaire to all childhood cancer survivors aged <16 years when diagnosed, who had survived ≥ 5 years and were aged 16-19 years at the time of study. Our control groups were same-aged siblings, a norm population, and psychotherapy patients. Psychological distress was measured with the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18) assessing somatization, depression, anxiety, and a global severity index (GSI). Participants with a T-score ≥ 57 were defined as distressed. We used logistic regression to determine risk factors.
RESULTS: We evaluated the BSI-18 in 407 survivors and 102 siblings. Fifty-two survivors (13%) and 11 siblings (11%) had scores above the distress threshold (T ≥ 57). Distressed survivors scored significantly higher in somatization (p=0.027) and GSI (p=0.016) than distressed siblings, and also scored higher in somatization (p ≤ 0.001) and anxiety (p=0.002) than psychotherapy patients. In the multivariable regression, psychological distress was associated with female sex, self-reported late effects, and low perceived parental support.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of survivors did not report psychological distress. However, the severity of distress of distressed survivors exceeded that of distressed siblings and psychotherapy patients. Systematic psychological follow-up can help to identify survivors at risk and support them during the challenging period of adolescence.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to (i) evaluate psychological distress in adolescent survivors of childhood cancer and compare them to siblings and a norm population; (ii) compare the severity of distress of distressed survivors and siblings with that of psychotherapy patients; and (iii) determine risk factors for psychological distress in survivors.
METHODS: We sent a questionnaire to all childhood cancer survivors aged <16 years when diagnosed, who had survived ≥ 5 years and were aged 16-19 years at the time of study. Our control groups were same-aged siblings, a norm population, and psychotherapy patients. Psychological distress was measured with the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18) assessing somatization, depression, anxiety, and a global severity index (GSI). Participants with a T-score ≥ 57 were defined as distressed. We used logistic regression to determine risk factors.
RESULTS: We evaluated the BSI-18 in 407 survivors and 102 siblings. Fifty-two survivors (13%) and 11 siblings (11%) had scores above the distress threshold (T ≥ 57). Distressed survivors scored significantly higher in somatization (p=0.027) and GSI (p=0.016) than distressed siblings, and also scored higher in somatization (p ≤ 0.001) and anxiety (p=0.002) than psychotherapy patients. In the multivariable regression, psychological distress was associated with female sex, self-reported late effects, and low perceived parental support.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of survivors did not report psychological distress. However, the severity of distress of distressed survivors exceeded that of distressed siblings and psychotherapy patients. Systematic psychological follow-up can help to identify survivors at risk and support them during the challenging period of adolescence.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:11 February 2013
Deposited On:08 Nov 2013 07:51
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 16:54
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1057-9249
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.3249
PubMed ID:23401292

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