Factors associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms in colorectal cancer survivors

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Up to 37% of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors report depressive and anxiety symptoms. The identification of risk factors for depressive or anxiety symptoms might help focus supportive care resources on those patients most in need. The present study aims to explore which factors are associated with heightened anxiety or depression symptom severity.


In this cross-sectional study, individuals diagnosed with CRC 3.5 to 6 years ago completed questionnaires on sociodemographic information, medical comorbidities, anxiety symptoms (Beck Anxiety Inventory), and depressive symptoms (Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology). The general linear model analysis of covariance was used to identify factors associated with heightened anxiety or depressive symptom severity.


The sample included 91 CRC survivors, 40.7% women, mean age 69.1 years. A minority of CRC survivors had moderate (3.4%) or severe (2.3%) anxiety symptoms, and moderate (7.7%) or severe (0%) depressive symptoms. Shorter time since diagnosis and higher number of comorbid diseases were associated with higher anxiety symptom severity. Female sex and higher number of comorbid diseases were associated with higher depressive symptom severity.


From this explorative study, it follows that survivors with multiple comorbid diseases, shorter time since diagnosis, and female survivors might be at risk for higher anxiety and/or depressive symptom severity. Survivors with these characteristics might need extra monitoring.

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