The relation of illness perceptions to stress, depression, and fatigue in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Westbrook TD, Maddocks K, Andersen BL
Psychol Health 31 891-902 07/01/2016


OBJECTIVE: Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is the most prevalent adult leukaemia and is incurable. The course and treatment of CLL is unique and characterised by repeated cycles of treatment, stable disease and relapse. Utilising a Self-Regulatory Model framework, we examined the relationship between patients' illness perceptions and cancer-specific stress, depressive symptoms and fatigue. Our aim was to test illness perceptions as predictors of these outcomes when variance due to disease and treatment variables was controlled.

DESIGN: Data were collected on 147 patients with relapsed/refractory CLL as they entered a phase II clinical trial of an investigational medication at a university affiliated, National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer center.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Cancer-specific stress, depressive symptoms and fatigue interference.

RESULT: . Hierarchical multiple regression was used. Consequences and emotional representation were related to all outcomes (ps < .01). Illness concern was related to cancer-specific stress (p < .01), and identity was related to fatigue interference (p < .01). All relationships were observed while controlling for number of previous CLL therapies received.

CONCLUSION: Illness perceptions are related to cancer-specific stress, depressive symptoms and fatigue interference in relapsed/refractory CLL. Interventions targeted at restructuring maladaptive illness perceptions may have clinical benefit in this population.

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