Life stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression in women after cancer: The mediating effect of stress appraisal and coping.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Psychooncology, 2018, 27, (7), pp. 1787-1794
Issue Date:
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OBJECTIVE: This paper examines the direct and intermediary relationships between life stress, stress appraisal, and resilience, and increased anxiety and depressive symptoms in Australian women after cancer treatment. METHODS: Data examined from 278 women aged 18 years and older previously treated for breast, gynaecological, or blood cancer, participating in the Australian Women's Wellness after Cancer Program. Serial mediation models interrogated the effect of stressful life events (List of Threatening Experiences-Modified) mediated by appraisal and coping (Perceived Stress Scale and Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale), on symptoms of anxiety and depression (Zung Self-rating Anxiety Scale and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale). RESULTS: Over one-quarter (30.2%) of participants reported 1 or more stressful life events, other than their cancer, in the previous 6 months. Results indicate that perceived stress fully mediated the relationships between life stress, anxiety (indirect effect = 0.09, Bias-corrected bootstrap 95% CI 0.02-0.18, Percent mediation = 0.51), and depressive symptoms (indirect effect = 0.11, Bias-corrected bootstrap 95% CI 0.02-0.23, Percent mediation = 0.71) and accounted for more than half of the relationship between predictor and outcome. CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate that stress appraisal mediated the relationship between past life stressors and anxiety and depressive symptoms. This analysis also highlights the need to consider wellness within a broader care context to identify potentially vulnerable patients to possibly avert future health concerns.
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