Psychological distress in adult survivors of childhood cancer: the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor study

Michel, Gisela; Rebholz, Cornelia E; von der Weid, Nicolas X; Bergstraesser, Eva; Kuehni, Claudia E (2010). Psychological distress in adult survivors of childhood cancer: the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor study. Journal of clinical oncology, 28(10), pp. 1740-1748. Alexandria, Va.: American Society of Clinical Oncology 10.1200/JCO.2009.23.4534

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Purpose To evaluate the degree of psychological distress in adult childhood cancer survivors in Switzerland and to characterize survivors with significant distress.

Methods Childhood cancer survivors who were age younger than 16 years when diagnosed between 1976 and 2003, had survived more than 5 years, and were currently age 20 years or older received a postal questionnaire. Psychological distress was assessed using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). Raw scores were transformed into T scores according to the German norm sample, and the proportion of participants being at increased risk for psychological distress was calculated (case rule: T ≥ 63). t tests and univariable and multivariable logistic regressions were used for statistical analyses.

Results One thousand seventy-six survivors (63.% of eligible survivors, 71.9% of contacted survivors) returned the questionnaire, 987 with complete data on BSI. Comparison with the norm populations showed lower T scores (T < 50) in the Global Severity Index (GSI; T = 46.2), somatization (T = 47.6), obsessive-compulsive tendencies (T = 46.9), and anxiety (T = 48.4). However, more childhood cancer survivors (especially women) had increased distress for GSI (14.4%), interpersonal sensitivity (16.5%), depression (13.4%), aggression (16.9%), and psychotic tendencies (15.6%) than the expected 10% from the norm population. Caseness was associated with female sex, being a single child, older age at study, and self-reported late effects, especially psychological problems.

Conclusion Results show that childhood cancer survivors, on average, have less psychological distress than a norm population but that the proportion of survivors at risk for high psychological distress is disproportionally large. Monitoring psychological distress in childhood cancer survivors may be desirable during routine follow-up, and psychological support should be offered as needed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Michel, Gisela; Rebholz, Cornelia and Kühni, Claudia




American Society of Clinical Oncology




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:10

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:01

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URI: (FactScience: 202697)

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