Screening adult survivors of childhood cancer with the distress thermometer: a comparison with the SCL-90-R.

Journal Article

As the number of cancer survivors continues to grow, identification of brief, valid psychological screening measures will be a critical step in providing them with appropriate psychosocial care. The distress thermometer (DT) is a one-item distress screening that is recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) for screening cancer patients, but has not been evaluated for cancer survivors. This study evaluated the validity of the DT compared to the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) in a sample of 119 adult survivors of childhood cancer aged 18-45 (median=23.5). Results indicated that when using the NCCN suggested cut-off score of 5, the DT only identified 20 of the 36 SCL-90-R-positive cases of psychological distress (sensitivity 55.6%; specificity 80.7%). Using an alternative DT cut-off score of 4 identified 23 of the 36 SCL-90-R-positive cases (sensitivity 63.9%; specificity 65.1%). Receiver operating characteristics analysis indicated that the DT had only fair diagnostic utility relative to the SCL-90-R (AUC=0.72). Results do not support the validity of the DT in adult survivors of childhood cancer.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Recklitis, CJ; Licht, I; Ford, J; Oeffinger, K; Diller, L

Published Date

  • November 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 1046 - 1049

PubMed ID

  • 17506074

Pubmed Central ID

  • 17506074

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1057-9249

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/pon.1212


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England