Illness-related worry among cancer patients: Prevalence, severity, and content

Michael E. Stefanek, Ann Shaw, Donna Degeorge, Nancy Tsottles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The present study assessed the prevalence, severity, and other parameters of illness-related worry among 83 cancer patients receiving active treatment for their illness. Participants completed questionnaires assessing a variety of worry dimensions. In addition, a family member of each patient completed a brief questionnaire regarding their perception of the patient's illness-related worry. Nurse ratings of patients' clinic-related behaviors were obtained. Fifty-one percent (n = 43) of patients reported worry to be at least (somewhat of a problem. ) Fifteen percent (n = 12) reported it to be a significant to severe problem. Significant correlations included patients self-rating of worry and: nurse rating of clinic behavior, total score on a Worry Content Scale, ability to stop worrying once started, and impact of worry on mood and functioning. Rating by the significant other of how much of a problem worry-was for the patient and whether the patient was a worrier preillness was also significantly correlated. There were no significant differences between (worriers ) and (nonworriers) on demographic or disease variables. A logistic regression model using the categories of (worriers) or (nonworriers) as a dependent variable found that women and patients reporting poor social support were more likely to report a problem with worry. However, a large amount of the variance remained unexplained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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