Table_1_Association Between Daily Worry, Pathological Worry, and Fear of Progression in Patients With Cancer.docx (665.59 kB)
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Table_1_Association Between Daily Worry, Pathological Worry, and Fear of Progression in Patients With Cancer.docx

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posted on 11.08.2021, 04:02 authored by Andreas Dinkel, Birgitt Marten-Mittag, Katrin Kremsreiter

Background: Fear of progression (FoP), or fear of cancer recurrence (FCR), is characterized by worries or concerns about negative illness-related future events. Actually, to worry is a common cognitive process that, in its non-pathological form, belongs to daily life. However, worry can also become pathological appearing as a symptom of mental disorders. This study aimed at investigating the associations among daily worry, pathological worry, and FoP in patients with cancer.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study that includes 328 hospitalized patients with cancer. Patients filled out the FoP Questionnaire (FoP-Q), the Worry Domains Questionnaire (WDQ) for the assessment of daily worry, and the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) for the assessment of pathological worry. Depressive, anxiety, and somatic symptoms were measured with modules of the Patient Health Questionnaire [Patient Health Questionnaire-Depressive Symptoms (PHQ-2), Generalized Anxiety Disorder-2 (GAD-2), and Patient Health Questionnaire-Somatic Symptoms (PHQ-15)]. Furthermore, a structured clinical interview was conducted for the assessment of anxiety disorders. The hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis was used to identify factors independently associated with FoP.

Results: Mean age of the participants was M = 58.5 years (SD = 12.8), and 64.6% were men. FoP and worry were significantly intercorrelated (r = 0.58–0.78). The level of FoP was most strongly associated with daily worry (β = 0.514, p < 0.001), followed by pathological worry (β = 0.221, p < 0.001). Further significant determinants were younger age and depressive and anxiety symptoms. Clinical variables were not independently associated with FoP. The final model explained 74% of the variance.

Discussion: Fear of progression is strongly associated with daily worry and pathological worry. These results bring up the question of whether FoP is an expression of a general tendency to worry. Whether a general tendency to worry, in fact, represents an independent vulnerability factor for experiencing FCR/FoP needs to be investigated in a longitudinal research design.

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