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Psychosom Med. 1981 Apr;43(2):117-25.

Psychological depression and 17-year risk of death from cancer.


Psychological depression, measured in 1957-1958 by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory at the baseline examination of 2,020 middle-aged employed men, was associated (p less than 0.001) with a twofold increase in odds of death from cancer during 17 years of follow-up. The association did not vary appreciably in magnitude among the early (1958-1962), middle (1963-1968), and later (1969-1974) years of follow-up, persisted after adjustment for age, cigarette smoking, use of alcohol, family history of cancer, and occupational status, and was apparently not specific to any particular site or type of cancer. This result, predicted in advance on the basis of findings by other investigators, is consistent with the hypothesis that psychological depression is related to impairment of mechanisms for preventing the establishment and spread of malignant cells.

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