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Qualitatively comparing the support needs of people with cancer based on their history of anxiety/ depression

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 04:29 authored by Emma RichardsonEmma Richardson, Jennifer ScottJennifer Scott, Schuz, N, Sanderson, K, Benjamin SchuezBenjamin Schuez

Introduction: Research rarely considers the origin or history of a cancer patient’s anxiety and/or depression, instead assuming that these illnesses are related to the cancer experience. The aim of this study was to compare differences in the support needs of people who have experienced anxiety/depression as part of the cancer experience and people who have not, as well as between people who have experienced episodic anxiety/depression and people who have experienced long-term anxiety/depression.

Methods: Twenty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with people with a current or previous diagnosis of cancer, and a current or previous experience with anxiety and/or depression. Participants were split into four groups based on their history with cancer and anxiety/depression, and an inductive thematic analysis was conducted to identify themes across groups.

Results: Two superordinate themes (with three and two subordinate themes respectively) were found: ‘coping with cancer’ and ‘health care system support provision’. Important differences were found across groups, with participants who had a history of anxiety/depression that was unrelated to their cancer diagnosis coping better with the combined burden of cancer and anxiety/depression, experiencing less fear of cancer recurrence, and highlighting more positive hospital and support service related experiences, than those whose anxiety/depression was cancer related.

Conclusion: The origin and history of a person’s anxiety/depression is important to consider when determining how they might cope with cancer, what their support needs are, and how much support they may require.


Publication title

Oncology and Therapy








School of Psychological Sciences


Springer Healthcare

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

The Author(s) 2017. Licensed under Creative Commonns Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Behaviour and health

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    University Of Tasmania