PTSD diagnoses, subsyndromal symptoms, and comorbidities contribute to impairments for breast cancer survivors.
The clinical importance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology for cancer patients is unclear. The association between the magnitude of cancer-related PTSD symptoms, comorbidity, and functioning is tested. Breast cancer patients (N = 74) were assessed at diagnosis/surgery, followed, and screened for cancer-related PTSD 18 months later. Participants then completed diagnostic interviews and PTSD (n = 12), subsyndromal PTSD (n = 5), and no symptom (n = 47) patient groups were identified. Posttraumatic stress disorder cases were distinguished by having experienced violent traumas and anxiety disorders predating cancer, whereas subsyndromal cases were not. Also, longitudinal data show that PTSD covarys with poorer functioning and lower quality of life among breast cancer survivors. Both PTSD and subsyndromal PTSD were associated with employment absenteeism and the seeking of mental health services.
Shelby, RA; Golden-Kreutz, DM; Andersen, BL
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