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J Psychosom Res. 2001 May;50(5):277-85.

Associations between coping and survival time of adult leukemia patients receiving allogeneic bone marrow transplantation: results of a prospective study.

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Department of Medical Psychology, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University of Cologne, Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 9, 50924, Cologne, Germany.



To investigate associations between coping strategies and length of survival in a sample of 52 adult leukemia patients receiving allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT).


52 adult patients, diagnosed with acute (AML) and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) admitted for allogeneic BMT to a university hospital BMT unit in preparation for a transplantation of genotypically matched HLA donor marrow, were interviewed immediately after informed consent and prior to preparatory treatment for transplantation. Semistructured interviews were conducted and recorded for analysis to assess coping styles and were evaluated by a new content analytic coping measure [Ulm Coping Manual (UCM)]. Patients were a random sample of all eligible patients on the BMT unit between May 1990 and May 1994.


Complete audiotaped interviews were rated by blind raters, employing a newly developed content analysis for the identification of patients' coping strategies. Multivariate analysis using a Cox model revealed three pretransplant variables that demonstrated a statistically significant influence on 5-year survival: Stage of Disease at transplant (P < .012), Distraction (P < .007), and Fighting Spirit as coping modalities (P < .013).


The results of this prospective study document the impact of certain psychological variables, notably coping style on survival with BMT. This suggests the necessity of utilizing psychosocial interventions to address stress and anxiety in patients awaiting transplantation in order to reduce anxieties and to employ more effective coping techniques to deal more appropriately with their situation and to enhance Fighting Spirit. The effects on survival of such psychosocial interventions need to be tested in a randomized controlled study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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