The role of positive psychological changes in anxiety and depression of patients with ovarian tumors and their partners: an observational study from the population-based PROFILES registry.


Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic Diseases (CoRPS), Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands. [Email]


OBJECTIVE : It is unknown whether positive psychological changes (e.g., in life perspective, self-perception, and social relationships) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer can reduce anxiety and depression in patients and their partners. The first aim of the present study was to assess differences in anxiety and depression between patients diagnosed with an ovarian tumor and their partners. The second aim was to explore the mutual associations of patients' and partners' posttraumatic growth and their anxiety and depressive symptoms.
METHODS : Participants included 130 Dutch couples of which one partner was diagnosed with a borderline ovarian tumor or ovarian cancer between 2000 and 2010, as registered by the Netherlands Cancer Registry. In September 2011, a questionnaire was sent including the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (anxiety and depression) and Cancer Survivors (Partners) Unmet Needs measure (positive psychological changes).
RESULTS : A one-way multivariate analysis of variance showed that patients reported higher anxiety than partners, without differences in depression. Contrasting to our expectations, an actor-partner interdependence model revealed no mutual dyadic associations between positive psychological changes and anxiety or depressive symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS : Based on these findings, positive psychological change seems to be an independent construct unrelated to anxiety or depression in couples diagnosed with ovarian tumors. Still, as ovarian tumor patients and partners suffer from high anxiety and depression, further research investigating how these feelings can be reduced in couples dealing with an ovarian tumor is necessary.


Anxiety,Depression,Oncology,Ovarian cancer,Partners,Positive psychological changes,

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