The impact of diagnosis and trait anxiety on psychological distress in women with early stage breast cancer: A prospective study

C.M.G. Keyzer-Dekker, J. de Vries, M.C. Mertens, J.A. Roukema, A.F.W. van der Steeg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives
High trait anxiety (HTA) determines depressive symptoms and state anxiety in women with breast cancer (BC) or benign breast disease (BBD). Before implementing screening for psychological counselling in these women, it is important to evaluate whether high state anxiety and depressive symptoms are determined by (the threat of) having BC or solely by HTA. Therefore, we compared women with a lump in the breast with women with gallstone disease (GD).
Methods
Women diagnosed with BC (n = 152), BBD (n = 205), and GD (n = 128) were included in a prospective longitudinal study. Questionnaires concerning trait anxiety (baseline), state anxiety, and depressive symptoms were completed before diagnosis was known (BC and BBD) or the laparoscopic cholecystectomy and 6 months later.
Results
Pre‐diagnosis BC patients scored higher on state anxiety (p = .001) and depressive symptoms (p < .001) compared with GD. At 6 months, scores on depressive symptoms in BC remained higher than GD (p = .005). In women with HTA, before being diagnosed with BC or BBD, scores on state anxiety were higher compared with HTA women with GD (p < .001, p = .040). State anxiety and depressive symptoms at 6 months were predicted by baseline depressive symptoms in women with BC.
Conclusions
The severity of diagnosis (BC) in combination with HTA determined the level of state anxiety and depressive symptoms. Therefore, we recommend identifying women with HTA and offering them a tailor‐made follow‐up protocol during and after the diagnostic process for BBD or BC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-794
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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