Relationships of anxiety and depressive symptoms with pain perception in post-mastectomy women. An intragroup analysis


Arch. Clin. Psychiatry (São Paulo)




Abstract Background Breast cancer confronts women with a threat to life and is classified among the most traumatic life experiences. The disease is often accompanied by strong negative emotions, often in the form of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Studies also point to the presence of chronic pain breast-cancer survivors. Objective To determine the relationships of: (1) anxiety and depressive symptoms with the experienced severity and interference of pain in post-mastectomy women; (2) anxiety and depressive symptoms with beliefs about pain. Method The studied group consisted of 53 women after radical mastectomy, experiencing chronic pain, despite positive results of cancer treatment. IPQ-R (Illness Perception Questionnaire – Revised) and HADS (The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) were applied. Results Correlation and regression analyses confirmed relationships of anxiety and depressive symptoms with pain in the group of post-mastectomy women. Cluster analysis separated three groups of patients, differing in the severity of depressive symptoms and anxiety. For each group, a different pattern of beliefs about pain was characteristic. Discussion The study has shown that psychological determinants play a significant role in the perception of pain severity and interference, which are related to anxiety, depressive symptoms and a system of beliefs about pain duration.

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