Aims: There is evidence that cancer survivors present mood and psychological well-being impairment when compared with counterparts with no cancer history (Costanzo, Ryff, & Singer, 2009). Therefore, the aim of this research is to explore if there are differences between women with and without cancer history, regarding well-being, stress, anxiety and depression.
Methods: A community sample of 66 Portuguese women (33 cancer survivors and 33 with no oncologic antecedents), aged between 42 and 60 years old, filled in a questionnaire to collect socio-demographic and health-related information. Validated instruments were applied to assess the psychological variables. Depression, anxiety and stress levels were measured with the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales (Pais-Ribeiro, Honrado, & Leal, 2004). Subjective well-being was assessed with the Subjective Well-Being Scale (Albuquerque & Tróccoli, 2004). To compare the means, a t-Student test was used.
Results: Most cancer survivors had breast cancer (n=20) and had a related surgical intervention between 2 to 11 years prior to the present assessment. Regarding subjective well-being, there were no significant differences in terms of positive affect (t(60)=.175; p=.862), life satisfaction (t(63)=1.725; p=0.089) and overall well-being (t(63)=-1.662; p=.101); however, there were differences among the two groups concerning negative affect (t(60)=-3.108; p=.003). Anxiety (t(39.537)=-2.899; p=.006), stress (t(62)=-2.053; p=.044) and depression (t(45.947)=-2.516; p=.015) also showed differences among cancer survivors and participants with no previous oncologic disease.
Conclusions: Cancers survivors presented higher levels of negative mood, including anxiety, stress and depression. This emphasizes that, although several years underwent since the diagnosis and related surgical interventions, an impaired mood might persist over the years.