Higher Levels of Stress Are Associated With a Significant Symptom Burden in Oncology Outpatients Receiving Chemotherapy

Katarina Jakovljevic, Kord M. Kober, Astrid Block, Bruce A. Cooper, Steven M. Paul, Marilyn J. Hammer, Frances Cartwright, Yvette P. Conley, Fay Wright, Laura B. Dunn, Jon D. Levine, Christine Miaskowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Context: A cancer diagnosis and associated treatments, as well as the uncertainty of the disease course, are stressful experiences for most patients. However, little information is available on the relationship between stress and symptom burden. Objectives: The study purpose was to evaluate for differences in the severity of fatigue, lack of energy, sleep disturbance, and cognitive function, among three groups of patients with distinct stress profiles. Methods: Patients receiving chemotherapy (n = 957) completed measures of general, cancer-specific, and cumulative life stress and symptom inventories. Latent profile analysis was used to identify subgroups of patients with distinct stress profiles. Results: Three distinct subgroups of patients were identified (i.e., stressed [39.3%], normative [54.3%], resilient [5.7%]). For cognitive function, significant differences were found among the latent classes (stressed < normative < resilient). For both sleep disturbance and morning and evening fatigue, compared to the normative and resilient classes, the stressed class reported higher severity scores. Compared to the normative and resilient classes, the stressed class reported low levels of morning energy. Compared to the normative class, the stressed class reported lower levels of evening energy. Conclusions: Consistent with our a priori hypothesis, patients in the stressed class had the highest symptom severity scores for all four symptoms and all these scores were above the clinically meaningful cutoffs for the various instruments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-31.e4
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Stress
  • cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • fatigue
  • sleep disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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