Mental health-care utilization in survivors of childhood cancer and siblings: the Swiss childhood cancer survivor study

Gianinazzi, Micol E.; Rueegg, Corina S.; von der Weid, Nicolas X.; Niggli, Felix K.; Kuehni, Claudia E.; Michel, Gisela (2014). Mental health-care utilization in survivors of childhood cancer and siblings: the Swiss childhood cancer survivor study. Supportive care in cancer, 22(2), pp. 339-349. Springer-Verlag 10.1007/s00520-013-1976-3

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We aimed to (1) describe the utilization of mental health-care in survivors and siblings, the association with severity of distress, and visits to other professionals in distressed survivors not utilizing mental health-care; and (2) identify factors associated with utilization of mental health-care in distressed survivors.


Within the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, we sent postal questionnaires to all participants aged <16 years at diagnosis (1976-2003), who survived ≥5 years after diagnosis and were aged ≥16 years at study. Survivors and siblings could indicate if they utilized mental health-care in the past year. Psychological distress was assessed with the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18). Participants with scores T ≥ 57 on two of three scales or the Global Severity Index were considered distressed.


We included 1,602 survivors and 703 siblings. Overall, 160 (10 %) and 53 (8 %), utilized mental health-care and 203 (14 %) and 127 (14 %) were considered distressed. Among these, 69 (34 %) survivors and 20 (24 %) siblings had utilized mental health-care. Participants with higher distress were more likely to utilize mental health-care. Distressed survivors not utilizing mental health-care were more likely to see a medical specialist than nondistressed. In the multivariable regression, factors associated with utilizing mental health-care were higher psychological distress and reporting late effects.


Our results underline the importance of developing interventional programs and implementing psychological screening in follow-up of survivors. It is also important to systematically address siblings' needs. In follow-up, patients at risk should be informed about existing possibilities or advised to visit mental health professionals.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Gianinazzi, Micol Eva; Rüegg, Corina Silvia; Kühni, Claudia and Michel, Gisela


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








Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

12 Feb 2014 14:52

Last Modified:

17 Sep 2018 15:03

Publisher DOI:


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