Correlates of depressive symptomatology in African-American breast cancer patients

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Purpose: This study assessed the levels of depressive symptomatology in African-American women with breast cancer compared to those of women without breast cancer and examined demographic, psychosocial, and clinical factors correlated with depression. Methods: A total of 152 African-American women were recruited from Washington, DC and surrounding suburbs. Breast cancer patients (n = 76 cases) were recruited from a health care center and women without cancer were recruited from health fairs (n = 76 comparison). We assessed depression, psychosocial variables (ego strength and social support), and sociodemographic factors from in-person interviews. Stage and clinical factors were abstracted from medical records. Independent sample t test, chi square test, analyses of variance, and multiple regression models were used to identify differences in depression and correlates of depression among the cases and comparison groups. Results: Women with breast cancer reported significantly greater levels of depression (m = 11.5, SD = 5.0) than women without breast cancer (m = 3.9, SD = 3.8) (p < 0.001). Higher cancer stage (beta = 0.91) and higher age (beta = 0.11) were associated with depression in the breast patients, explaining 84 % of the variance. In the comparison group, ego strength and tangible support were inversely associated with depressive symptoms, accounting for 32 % of the variance. Conclusions: Women with more advanced disease may require interdisciplinary approaches to cancer care (i.e., caring for the whole person). Implications for Cancer Survivors: Depression is often underrecognized and undertreated in African-American breast cancer patients. Understanding the factors related to depression is necessary to integrate psychosocial needs to routine cancer care to improve survivors' quality of life. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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