Posttraumatic Stress and Related Impairment in Survivors of Childhood Cancer in Early Adulthood Compared to Healthy Peers

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Abstract

Objective

To compare rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related impairment between childhood cancer survivors in early adulthood and healthy peers.

Methods

Cancer survivors (n=57) and comparison group (n=83) completed measures of PTSD, depression, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), mood, and satisfaction with life (SWL).

Results

The cancer survivor group was more likely to have PTSD than the control group (odds ratio=4.67, p < .05) but was not more likely to experience subclinical PTSD symptoms. The groups differed on physical HRQOL, F(1, 140)=15.02, p < .001, and positive affect, F(1, 140)=7.03, p < .01, but did not differ on depression, SWL, psychosocial HRQOL, and negative mood. Those in the survivor group with PTSD (n=10) experienced more depression and negative affect, worse HRQOL and SWL, perceived their cancer to impact developmental tasks more, and were older at the time of diagnosis compared with those without PTSD (n=47).

Conclusions

Although most are well adjusted, childhood cancer survivors in early adulthood are more likely to have PTSD and to experience significant impairment compared with healthy peers.

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