Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Radiother Oncol. 2004 Aug;72(2):183-9.

Psychosocial distress and need for psychotherapeutic treatment in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy.

Author information

  • 1Department for Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Freiburg, Hauptstr. 8, D-79114 Freiburg, Germany.



Empirical investigations examining the need for psychotherapeutic treatment of inpatients in radio-oncology departments are rare. We, therefore, assessed the degree of psychosocial distress of radio-oncology inpatients and their need for psychotherapeutic interventions.


Eighty-seven patients from two radio-oncology wards underwent psychodiagnostic interviews and completed self-rating instruments to determine mental disorders, psychosocial distress, coping strategies and quality of life. Need for psychotherapeutic interventions and treatment motivation were estimated by patients and by a professional.


Using ICD-10 criteria, mental and behavioral disorders were diagnosed in 51% of the patients, most of them adjustment disorders. The professional regarded 32.2% of patients as needing psychotherapeutic treatment, compared with 43% of the patients who were motivated to accept at least one of the psychotherapeutic treatments offered. There was a marked discrepancy between the points of view of the patient and the professional, in that, while the professional regarded anxiety as a highly significant predictor of the need for treatment, psychosocial distress played no role in the patients' estimation.


In determining the indication for psychotherapeutic treatment, both objectified psychosocial distress and a patients' subjective treatment expectations should be considered. There is a need to develop screening instruments that integrate both aspects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk