Adolescent survivors of childhood cancer: are they vulnerable for psychological distress?

Gianinazzi, Micol E; Rueegg, Corina S; Wengenroth, Laura; Bergstraesser, Eva; Rischewski, Johannes; Ammann, Roland A; Kuehni, Claudia E; Michel, Gisela (2013). Adolescent survivors of childhood cancer: are they vulnerable for psychological distress? Psycho-oncology, 22(9), pp. 2051-2058. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell 10.1002/pon.3249

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OBJECTIVES: We aimed to (i) evaluate psychological distress in adolescent survivors of childhood cancer and compare them to siblings and a norm population; (ii) compare the severity of distress of distressed survivors and siblings with that of psychotherapy patients; and (iii) determine risk factors for psychological distress in survivors. METHODS: We sent a questionnaire to all childhood cancer survivors aged <16 years when diagnosed, who had survived ≥5 years and were aged 16-19 years at the time of study. Our control groups were same-aged siblings, a norm population, and psychotherapy patients. Psychological distress was measured with the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18) assessing somatization, depression, anxiety, and a global severity index (GSI). Participants with a T-score ≥57 were defined as distressed. We used logistic regression to determine risk factors. RESULTS: We evaluated the BSI-18 in 407 survivors and 102 siblings. Fifty-two survivors (13%) and 11 siblings (11%) had scores above the distress threshold (T ≥ 57). Distressed survivors scored significantly higher in somatization (p = 0.027) and GSI (p = 0.016) than distressed siblings, and also scored higher in somatization (p ≤ 0.001) and anxiety (p = 0.002) than psychotherapy patients. In the multivariable regression, psychological distress was associated with female sex, self-reported late effects, and low perceived parental support. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of survivors did not report psychological distress. However, the severity of distress of distressed survivors exceeded that of distressed siblings and psychotherapy patients. Systematic psychological follow-up can help to identify survivors at risk and support them during the challenging period of adolescence. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Gianinazzi, Micol Eva, Rüegg, Corina Silvia, Wengenroth, Laura, Ammann, Roland, Kühni, Claudia, Michel, Gisela


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Anette van Dorland

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:40

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:12

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URI: (FactScience: 224149)

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