Stigma Affects Depression Among Lung Cancer Patients

Perceived stigma accounts for significant amount of variance in depressive symptoms

THURSDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with lung cancer, perceived stigma is significantly associated with depressive symptomatology, according to a study published in the March issue of Psycho-Oncology.

Brian D. Gonzalez and Paul B. Jacobsen, Ph.D., of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa, conducted a survey of 95 patients who were receiving chemotherapy for stage II to IV non-small-cell lung cancer to identify any relationship between symptoms of depression and perceived stigma. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire; perceived stigma was assessed using self-report measures; and clinical factors were evaluated by medical chart review.

The researchers found that 38 percent of lung cancer patients exhibited clinically significant depressive symptoms. A statistically significant association between perceived stigma and depression symptoms was identified (r = 0.46). Perceived stigma accounted for a significant amount of variance in depressive symptoms above that accounted for by confounding clinical, demographic, and psychosocial factors.

"Because this is the first quantitative study to identify the relationship between perceived stigma and depressive symptomatology among lung cancer patients, it will be important to see if these findings can be replicated in future research," the authors write.

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