Rates and correlates of DSM-IV diagnoses in women newly diagnosed with breast cancer

Barbara M. Dausch, Bruce E. Compas, Ellen Beckjord, Linda Luecken, Cay Anderson-Hanley, Marne Sherman, Cyndi Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Although the presence of psychological distress has been documented in women with breast cancer, previous studies have not established rates of DSM-IV diagnoses in this population, nor have prior investigations compared the utility of diagnostic interviewing vs. symptom checklists to assess distress. DSM-IV diagnoses of anxiety disorders and major depression, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and quality of life were examined in 207 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Eighteen percent of breast cancer patients met criteria for a current DSM-IV anxiety or depressive disorder and 54% met criteria for a disorder at some point in their lifetime. These rates are comparable to those found in recent community epidemiological studies (e.g., R. C. Kessler, K. A. McGonagle, S. Zhao, C. B. Nelson, M. Hughes, S. Esheman, et al., 1994). Sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value for anxiety and depression symptoms as predictors of DSM disorders were relatively poor. However, after accounting for demographic, treatment, and cancer variables, self-reported anxiety symptoms were significantly related to the presence of an anxiety disorder and self-reported depressive symptoms were significantly related to a diagnosis of a depressive disorder. Symptoms of anxiety and depression contributed significantly and uniquely to physical, medical, and sexual quality of life; DSM-IV diagnoses were not significantly related to quality of life after controlling for symptoms of depression and anxiety. The importance of measuring both symptoms of distress and psychiatric diagnoses in cancer patients and the clinical practice implications of the results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Anxiety
  • Breast cancer
  • Depression
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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