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ERIC Number: EJ814714
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-1328-4207
Chronic Stress, Depression and Immunity in Spouses of Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients
Mortimer, Jane S. Blake; Sephton, Sandra E.; Kimerling, Rachel; Butler, Lisa; Bernstein, Aaron S.; Spiegel, David
Clinical Psychologist, v9 n2 p59-63 Nov 2005
Objective: The objective of this study was to examine how the chronicity of stress affects psychological stress-responses, depressive symptoms, and "in vivo" immunocompetence in spouses of women with metastatic breast cancer. Methods: Participants were 34 spouses of breast cancer patients. Their wives had been living with a diagnosis of recurrence metastatic breast cancer for a mean of 2.3 (SD = 3.6) years. Stress chronicity was defined as the length of time since the partner's diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer. Self-reports of psychological stress responses (IES) and depression (CES-D) were taken, and in vivo immunocompetence was assessed by delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses to skin test antigens. Results: Clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms (CES-D greater than 16) were reported in 15% of participants. Suppression of the DTH response was greater in men who had been living longer with an ill spouse (Spearman r = -0.39, p = 0.011), those who reported more psychological stress (r = 0.37, p = 0.16), and those who had more severe depressive symptoms (r = -0.28, p = 0.054). There was no association between the duration of disease and spouse's depression, however, those who had been living longer with an ill partner reported less psychological stress. Conclusions: This study substantiates a relationship between depression and cell-mediated immunity in spouses with a seriously ill partner. Further, these results suggest that the duration of stress is an important factor of stress-induced immunosuppression. They also highlight the potential importance of interventions to alleviate depression among family members of cancer patients. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale