A diagnosis of cancer carries such emotional upheaval that a persons prolonged feelings of depression can eat away at the possibility for long-term survival. In a new study of cancer patients published in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers have found that peoples lives were more likely to be cut short when they had more symptoms of depression.
University of Rochester psychologist Kirk Warren Brown and co-authors used a number of demographic, medical, cancer treatment, and psychological factors to predict longevity in a group of 205 cancer patients over a 10-year period.
Among the psychological factors examined in this study on psychological distress and cancer survival were a variety of indicators of emotional state and coping, including positive and negative mood, anxiety, stress, sense of control, and depressive symptoms. After accounting for the effects of known demographic, medical risk, and cancer treatment factors, results showed that symptoms of depression were the most consistent psychological predictor of shortened survival.
Sharon Dickman | University of Rochester
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