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Depression and Anxiety in Women With Breast Cancer and Their Partners

Badger, Terry; Segrin, Chris; Dorros, Sybilla M.; Meek, Paula; Lopez, Ana Maria


Background: Psychosocial interventions can improve psychological quality of life (symptoms of depression and anxiety) of both women with breast cancer and their partners, but are not offered routinely to women and their partners.

Objective: To test the hypotheses that telephone-delivered psychosocial interventions decrease depression and anxiety in women with breast cancer and their partners.

Methods: The design of the study was a three-wave repeated measures with a between-subjects factor (treatment group). Ninety-six women and their 96 partners were assigned randomly to participate in one of three different 6-week programs: (a) telephone interpersonal counseling (TIP-C); (b) self-managed exercise; or (c) attention control (AC).

Results: The mixed-model analysis of variance for symptoms of depression among women with breast cancer revealed women's depressive symptom scores decreased over time in all groups. For anxiety, women's symptoms of anxiety decreased in the TIP-C and exercise groups over time, but not in the AC group. A parallel set of analyses was conducted on partners' depression and anxiety data. Symptoms of depression and anxiety among the partners decreased substantially over the course of the investigation. Similar to the women, partners' symptoms of anxiety decreased significantly in the TIP-C and exercise groups, but not in the AC group.

Discussion: Findings from this study support that these telephone-delivered psychosocial interventions were effective for decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety to improve psychological quality of life when compared to an AC group.

Terry Badger, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN, is Professor, College of Nursing; Chris Segrin, PhD, is Professor, Department of Communication; and Sybilla M. Dorros, MA, is Project Director, Department of Communication, The University of Arizona, Tucson.

Paula Meek, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Professor, School of Nursing, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Ana Maria Lopez, MD, is Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Pathology, Arizona Cancer Center, Arizona Health Science Center, Tucson.

Accepted for publication August 14, 2006.

Funding provided by the National Institute of Nursing Research (R15R008001) to Terry Badger.

Corresponding author: Terry Badger, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN, College of Nursing, The University of Arizona, 1305 N. Martin, Tucson, AZ 85721-0203 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.