Prevalence and predictors of post-traumatic stress symptoms in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors: A 1-year follow-up study

Minyoung Kwak, Brad J. Zebrack, Kathleen A. Meeske, Leanne Embry, Christine Aguilar, Rebecca Block, Brandon Hayes-Lattin, Yun Li, Melissa Butler, Steven Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives Post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) have been identified as a meaningful indicator of distress in cancer survivors. Distinct from young adult survivors of childhood cancer, young people diagnosed with cancer as adolescents and young adults (AYAs) face unique psychosocial issues; however, there is little published research of PTSS in the AYA population. This study examines prevalence and predictors of PTSS among AYAs with cancer. Methods As part of a longitudinal study of AYAs with cancer, 151 patients aged 15-39 years completed mailed surveys at 6 and 12 months post-diagnosis. Severity of PTSS was estimated at 6 and 12 months post-diagnosis. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate the predictive effects of socio-demographic and clinical characteristics on changes in PTSS over time. Results At 6 and 12 months, respectively, 39% and 44% of participants reported moderate to severe levels of PTSS; 29% had PTSS levels suggestive of post-traumatic stress disorder. No significant differences in severity of PTSS between 6 and 12 months were observed. Regression analyses suggested that a greater number of side effects were associated with higher levels of PTSS at 6 months. Currently receiving treatment, having surgical treatment, diagnosis of a cancer type with a 90-100% survival rate, remaining unemployed/not in school, and greater PTSS at 6 months were associated with higher levels of PTSS at 12 months. Conclusions Post-traumatic stress symptoms were observed as early as 6 months following diagnosis and remained stable at 12-month follow-up. The development of early interventions for reducing distress among AYA patients in treatment is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1798-1806
Number of pages9
JournalPsycho-Oncology
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Keywords

  • adolescent
  • cancer
  • oncology
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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