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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163

Abstract

NAKASH, Ora; SHEMESH, Anat; NAGAR, Maayan  and  LEVAV, Itzhak. Cancer and common mental disorders in the community: Results of the Israel-World Mental Health Survey. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.3, pp.174-184. ISSN 0213-6163.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4321/S0213-61632012000300004.

Background and Objectives: To study common mental disorders (CMD) and other mental health-related variables among community residents with active cancer, cancer survivors and cancer-free respondents. Methods: Data were extracted from the Israeli component of the 28-country World Mental Health Survey. The sample included 165 respondents who reported ever having cancer and 2,282 cancer-free respondents, all aged 39 years and older. The WHO/Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was used to determine the prevalence rate of CMD. Emotional distress (ED) was ascertained with the GHQ-12. Also, respondents were asked about sleep disturbances and mental health service utilization. Results: Respondents with active cancer were more likely to endorse CMD in the past year than cancer-free respondents, 22.1% SE = 6.1 and 7.2% SE = 2.5, respectively (adjusted odds ratio = 2.6, 95% CI 1.2-5.6); to have higher ED scores, M = 27.1 SE = 1.3 and M = 19.8 SE = 0.3, respectively (Wald F = 16.7, p < 0.001); and higher prevalence rates of sleep disturbances, 64.7% SE = 6.5% and 31.5% SE = 4.6%, respectively (adjusted odds ratio = 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-3.9). Cancer survivors did not significantly differ from cancer-free respondents on the study variables. Despite the emotional toll, there were no differences in mental health service utilization among the three cancer groups. Conclusions: Respondents with active cancer residing in the community show enhanced psychopathology. Study findings highlight a double need: to adequately assess mental health problems in persons with cancer and to bridge the treatment gap.

Keywords : Epidemiology; Mental health; Oncology; Treatment gap; Israel.

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