Depression in a Cancer Patient Population

  • Lee M. Ritterband
  • Charles D. Spielberger


The main goal of this study was to examine depression and its components in cancer patients as compared with healthy control subjects and psychiatric inpatients. The participants were 54 cancer patients (28 females with breast cancer, 26 males with prostate cancer), 59 healthy controls (33 females, 26 males), and 75 psychiatric patients (27 females, 48 males). Participants were administered the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the State Trait Personality Inventory (STPI) Depression scales. Cancer patients had higher overall depression scores than did healthy controls as measured by BDI, but the difference was due primarily to the significantly higher scores of the cancer patients on the BDI Somatic–Performance subscale. No differences were found on the BDI Cognitive–Affective subscale. Cancer patients also scored significantly higher than healthy controls on the State-Trait Personality Inventory (STPI) State Depression (S-Dep) scale because of higher Euthymia subscale scores. The psychiatric inpatients scored significantly higher than the other groups on all measures of depression. The findings of this study suggest that cancer patients may be erroneously labeled as depressed because of somatic–performance difficulties they may experience, which are similar to symptoms of depressed individuals. In addition, it is essential to delineate the various components of depression in evaluating cancer patients.

depression cancer BDI STPI 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee M. Ritterband
    • 1
  • Charles D. Spielberger
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatric MedicineUniversity of Virginia Health SystemCharlottesville
  2. 2.Center for Research in Behavioral Medicine and Health PsychologyUniversity of South FloridaTampaFlorida

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