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BMC Psychology

, 4:52

Health psychology


BackgroundEpidemiological evidence suggests the impact psychological distress has on symptomatic outcomes pain among cancer patients. While studies have examined distress across various medical illnesses, few have examined the relationship of psychological distress and pain among patients diagnosed with cancer. This study aimed to examine the impact psychological distress-related symptoms has on pain frequency, presence of pain, and pain-related distress among oncology patients.

MethodsData were collected from a sample of White and Black adults N = 232 receiving outpatient services from a comprehensive cancer center. Participants were surveyed on questions assessing psychological distress i.e., worry, feeling sad, difficulty sleeping, and health pain presence, pain frequency, comorbidities, physical functioning, behavioral pain-related distress, and demographic characteristics.

ResultsPatients reporting functional limitations were more likely to report pain. Specifically, those reporting difficulty sleeping and feeling irritable were similarly likely to report pain. Data further showed age and feeling irritable as significant indicators of pain-related distress, with younger adults reporting more distress.

ConclusionsIt must be recognized that psychological distress and experiences of pain frequency are contingent upon a myriad of factors that are not exclusive, but rather coexisting determinants of health. Further assessment of identified predictors such as age, race, socioeconomic status, and other physical and behavioral indicators are necessary, thus allowing for an expansive understanding of the daily challenges and concerns of individuals diagnosed with cancer, while providing the resources for clinicians, researchers, and policy makers to better meet the needs of this patient population.

KeywordsPain frequency Pain presence Psychological distress Physical functioning AbbreviationsBPSBiopsychosocial

ECOG-PSEastern cooperative oncology group performance status

IOMInstitute of medicine

MSASMemorial symptom assessment scale

NCINational cancer institute

PHYSPhysical symptoms


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Autor: Tamara A. Baker - Jessica L. Krok-Schoen - Susan C. McMillan


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