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Prevalence, correlates, and impact of depressive and anxiety disorder in cancer: Findings from a multicenter study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 September 2017

Eun-Jung Shim
Department of Psychology, Pusan National University, Busan, Republic of Korea
Bong-Jin Hahm
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea Department of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Eun-Seung Yu
Mental Health Clinic, National Cancer Center, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea
Ha Kyoung Kim
Department of Psychiatry, Incheon Medical Center, Incheon, Republic of Korea
Seong Jin Cho
Department of Psychiatry, Korea Cancer Center Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Sung Man Chang
Department of Psychiatry, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Republic of Korea
Jong-Chul Yang
Department of Psychiatry, Chonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do, Republic of Korea
Jong-Heun Kim*
Mental Health Clinic, National Cancer Center, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jong-Heun Kim, Mental Health Clinic, National Cancer Center, 323 Ilsan-ro, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang-si Gyeonggi-do, 10408, Republic of Korea. E-mail:



Our aim was to examine the prevalence, correlates, and association of depressive and anxiety disorders with quality of life (QoL) and such other outcomes as the need for psychosocial services in cancer patients.


A total of 400 patients participated in a multicenter survey involving five cancer centers located throughout Korea. The Short-Form Health Survey, the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory, the Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer (MINI-MAC), and Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview were administered.


The prevalence rates for depressive and anxiety disorders were 16 and 17.1%, respectively. Younger age and poor Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, and all physical symptoms, as well as helplessness/hopelessness, anxious preoccupation (AP), and cognitive avoidance (CA) on the MINI-MAC were found to be significantly related to depressive disorder (DD) in a univariate logistic regression analysis. Metastases, the symptoms of disturbed sleep, dry mouth, and numbness or tingling, as well as AP and CA were significantly correlated with anxiety disorder (AD) in the univariate analysis. In the multivariate analyses, only AP was significant for AD (odds ratio = 2.94, p < 0.001), while none reached statistical significance for DD. Psychiatric comorbidity status had a detrimental effect on various dimensions of QoL. Patients with DD or AD reported a significantly higher need for professional psychosocial services.

Significance of results:

Given the substantial prevalence and pervasive impact of DD and AD on various aspects of QoL, its assessment and care should be integrated as a regular part of oncological care throughout the cancer continuum.

Original Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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Eun-Jung Shim and Bong-Jin Hahm contributed equally to this work.



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