Psychological Distress of Breast Cancer Survivors During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Related Factors: A Controlled Study
Beyza TAŞ1,Dilek ANUK2,Berna AKÇINAR1
1Department of Psychology, Işık University, İstanbul-Türkiye
2Division of Psychosocial Oncology and Education, Department of Preventive Oncology, İstanbul University, Oncology Institute, İstanbul-Türkiye
DOI : 10.5505/tjo.2023.3934 OBJECTIVE
Although the prevalence of breast cancer is high among women, survival rates are increasing. However, breast cancer survivors (BCS) continue to experience various psychological problems after their treatments and are also exposed to additional stressors, such as the current Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The aim of this study was to examine the psychological distress and related factors (social support, intolerance of uncertainty, coping strategies) of BCS during the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of breast cancer diagnosis in this process.

This study included 95 BCS and 87 healthy women. Sociodemographic Information Form and depression anxiety stress scale, social support scale, intolerance of uncertainty scale, and coping strategies short form scales were administered to the participants. T tests and regression analyses were performed to examine the relationships between the variables.

There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of depression and anxiety, but the stress of BCS was lower than that of healthy women. In the regression analysis, the diagnosis of breast cancer was not a predictor for depression and anxiety, but it was a significant predictor for stress. Common predictors of increased depression, anxiety, and stress were decreased social support, increased uncertainty intolerance, and increased emotion-focused coping.

Focusing on the development of intolerance of uncertainty, social support, and problem-focused coping strategies of psychological interventions for women BCS during epidemics such as COVID-19 may reduce their psychological distress while maintaining and increasing their psychological well-being. Keywords : Breast cancer survivors; coping strategies; coronavirus disease 2019; intolerance of uncertainty; psychological distress; social support