Depressive symptoms in latina breast cancer survivors: A barrier to cancer screening

Alan E.C. Holden, Amelie G. Ramirez, Kipling Gallion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective: Depressed mood limits vigilance, risk avoidance or risk reduction. This may reflect inability to follow health care provider recommendations for screening for other cancers. We determined prevalence of depressive symptoms and its role in screening for other cancers in Latina breast cancer survivors. Method: A convenience sample of 117 Latina breast cancer survivors completed a questionnaire including the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D) and substantive barriers to following health care provider recommendations. A threshold score of 16 or greater on the CESD was considered elevated symptoms in the past week. Chi-square and T tests were used to evaluate bivariate associations and multiple logistic regression to identify barriers to compliance with recommendations regarding ovarian and colorectal screening. Results: The results showed 31.6% had CESD scores above the threshold, about three times the general population. Cancer screening rates were very low with only five women (4.2%) screened for both ovarian and colorectal cancer. Elevated symptoms were present in 38% of those without colorectal cancer screening and 42% of those without ovarian cancer screening. It is inversely related to screening for colorectal (aOR = 0.44, p = .04), ovarian (aOR = 0.44, p = .09), or either screening (aOR = 0.38, p = .035). Conclusions: Depressive symptom rates are higher among breast cancer survivors than the general population; rates of screening for other cancers are low. This indicates general failure to comply with recommendations for screening for other cancers among breast cancer survivors. Depressive symptoms may be a barrier to screening. Affective components of survivorship must be addressed in order to make interventions more effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-248
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Barriers
  • Breast cancer
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Latino
  • Survivors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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