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Am J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 1988 Fall;10(3):185-90.

Self-reported depression in adolescent cancer patients.

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  • 1Adolescent Unit, Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263.


The prevalence of depression was studied, using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (SADS), in a sample of 30 adolescent cancer patients. BDI scores revealed that 26 patients (87%) were not depressed, 4 (13%) were moderately depressed and no one had severe depression. Similarly, SADS data indicated no history of depression in 75% of the sample, and histories of minor and major depression in 14 and 10% of the sample, respectively. Females scored significantly higher (p less than .05) than males on BDI physical, but not psychological, items. The average response to BDI physical items was significantly greater (p less than .05) than to psychological items, suggesting that somatic symptoms are more salient than psychological symptoms of depression among adolescent cancer patients. Overall, however, as compared with norms, the rate of major depression among adolescent cancer patients is not greater than that for the population at large. These data do not exclude the possibility of masked symptoms, which only under stringent conditions will become obvious.

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