Depressive symptoms during adverse economic and political circumstances: A comparative study on Greek female breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment

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The aim of this study was to search for an effect of the adverse economic and political events that took place in 2015 in Greece (threat of bankruptcy, referendum, capital controls) on depressive symptoms of breast cancer patients on chemotherapy. The clinician-rated version of the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (IDS-C30) and a form documenting sociodemographic, medical and social network characteristics were administrated in two groups of patients: one in 2010 and one in the aftermath of the July 2015 events. No differences were found between medical, demographic and social characteristics. The IDS-C30 median value of patients treated in 2010 was 28.07 (CI, 25.91-31.60), while that of the 2015's group was 18.00 (CI, 16.92-20.60), indicating less depressive symptoms for the second group. The analysis revealed that the differences between the two groups were statistically significant (p = <.001), denoting a strong effect size (r = .53). Lower depressive symptoms after the July 2015 events could be explained by different personal and social factors- most possibly an increase of social support to the most vulnerable—yet to be proven. Future research on the effect of striking economic and political events on mental health of a larger cohort of breast cancer patients is warranted.

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