Cancer-Specific Stress and Trajectories of Psychological and Physical Functioning in Patients With Relapsed/Refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Goyal NG, Maddocks KJ, Johnson AJ, Byrd JC, Westbrook TD, Andersen BL
Ann Behav Med 52 287-298 03/15/2018

Abstract

Background: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most prevalent adult leukemia. The disease is incurable with a cycling of treatment and relapse common. Little is known about the psychological and physical functioning of patients with relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Cancer-specific stress is an important individual difference variable that predicts psychological and physical outcomes.

Purpose: To examine cancer-specific stress at treatment initiation as a predictor of psychological and physical functioning trajectories in patients with relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia during the first 5 months of treatment.

Methods : Patients with relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (N = 152) enrolled in a phase II clinical trial completed self-report measures at treatment initiation (baseline), 1, 2, and 5 months of treatment. Cancer-specific stress at baseline was examined as a predictor of psychological (cognitive-affective depressive symptoms, negative mood, mental health quality of life) and physical functioning (fatigue interference, sleep problems, physical health quality of life), controlling for demographic and treatment variables.

Results : Using multilevel modeling, higher baseline cancer-specific stress was related to worse psychological (cognitive-affective depressive symptoms, negative mood, mental health quality of life) and physical functioning (fatigue interference, sleep problems) at baseline and more rapid improvements during the next 5 months. Despite these improvements, higher baseline cancer-specific stress remained associated with poorer 5-month psychological, though not physical, functioning.

Conclusions: Findings suggest cancer-specific stress at treatment initiation may be a risk factor for poorer psychological functioning during treatment for patients with relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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