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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


BEN-EZRA, Menachem et al. The association between previous psychological trauma and mental health among gastric cancer patients. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2011, vol.25, n.3, pp.122-133. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: This study explores the association between previous trauma and psychiatric symptoms and well-being among gastric cancer patients. Based on the vulnerability model, it was hypothesized that cancer patients who report a history of trauma would exhibit higher level of psychiatric symptoms and lower well-being. Methods: A sample of 123 consecutive cancer patients was interviewed and administered a battery of questionnaires in order to assess their psychiatric symptoms, well-being along with demographics and health behaviors in a cross-sectional design. The patients were divided based on previous exposure to psychological trauma. A set of hierarchical linear regressions was conduced in order to learn the association between previous trauma and mental health. Results: Patients who reported previous exposure to trauma did not differ in the level of psychiatric symptoms from patients who did not report previous history of psychological trauma. However, the former had significantly lower future life satisfaction and lower level of perceived social support. After controlling for covariates, patients who reported previous exposure also had higher levels of depressive symptoms. Conclusions: The study results may suggest that the association between previous trauma and mental health of gastric cancer patients is more complex. Cancer patients who report a history of psychological trauma and who face an immediate threat to life do not differ on most indices, but they do show specific vulnerabilities: they are more susceptible to depressive symptoms and to lower future life satisfaction.

Keywords : Cancer; Oncology; Depression; Previous trauma; Well-Being.

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