Medline: 1394054

Cancer 70(8): 2214-2224, 1992.

Hodgkin disease survivors at increased risk for problems in psychosocial adaptation.

Kornblith AB, Anderson J, Cella DF, et al.


The long-term psychosocial adaptations of 273 survivors of advanced Hodgkin's disease were assessed to determine the nature and extent of problems experienced and to identify those at high risk for maladaptation.

Hodgkin's disease survivors were identified who initially had been treated in clinical trials within the Cancer and Leukemia Group B from 1966 to 1986, were currently disease free, and had completed treatment for a minimum of 1 year. All survivors had advanced Hodgkin's disease (with disease diagnosed at a mean age of 28 years). Survivors were at a mean age of 37 years at the time of interview (6.3 years after treatment completion), and 60% were male. Survivors were interviewed over the telephone 7-10 days after questionnaires were mailed to them concerning their psychological, social, vocational, and sexual functioning.

Psychological distress was found to be elevated by one standard deviation (SD) above that of healthy subjects on the Brief Symptom Inventory, and 22% met the criterion suggested for a psychiatric diagnosis. In addition, the following problems were reported by survivors to be a consequence of having had Hodgkin's disease: denial of life (31%) and health (22%) insurance, sexual problems (37%), conditioned nausea in response to reminders of chemotherapy (39%), and a negative socioeconomic effect (36%). Survivors found to be at high risk for maladaptation were: men earning less than $15,000 per year or who were currently unemployed; unmarried individuals; those with serious illnesses since treatment completion; and those who were less educated.

These findings suggest that including a routine assessment of these factors would help to target survivors in need of additional evaluation and treatment.

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