Psychological distress associated with waiting for results of diagnostic investigations for breast disease

K. Poole, K. Hood, B. D. Davis, I. J. Monypenny, H. Sweetland, D. J.T. Webster, K. Lyons, R. E. Mansel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a multi-method research project investigating the psychological distress associated with waiting for results of diagnostic investigations in a delayed-results breast clinic. A cohort of 126 women completed standardized psychometric instruments to assess anxiety, mood and coping over 3 days. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 respondents. The findings indicate that waiting sustained but did not exacerbate psychological distress. Peri-diagnostic anxiety, depression, uncertainty and confusion were associated with anxiety levels immediately following triple assessment. Women leaving the clinic with low anxiety retained this composure throughout the peri-diagnostic period. Those in the moderate and high anxiety groups recorded sustained anxiety, depression, uncertainty and confusion, with mean scores comparable to and exceeding those reported by psychiatric out-patients. Coping during the waiting period was typically accomplished by emotion-focused strategies. Qualitative data suggested the delayed-results clinic structure may facilitate psychological preparation for test results. (C) 1999 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-338
Number of pages5
JournalBreast
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

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