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Hermioni L. Amonoo, Elizabeth Daskalakis, Emma C. Deary, Monica H. Bodd, Matthew J. Reynolds, Ashley M. Nelson, Richard Newcomb, Tejaswini M. Dhawale, Daniel Yang, Selina M. Luger, Jillian L. Gustin, Andrew Brunner, Amir T. Fathi, Thomas W. LeBlanc, and Areej El-Jawahri

Background: Patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) face an abrupt life-threatening illness and experience immense physical and psychological symptoms. However, no data describe how patients with AML cope longitudinally with their illness or the relationship between longitudinal coping and outcomes. Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of longitudinal data from 160 patients with high-risk AML enrolled in a supportive care intervention trial to describe coping strategies longitudinally across the illness course. We used the Brief COPE questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Checklist-Civilian Version, and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Leukemia to measure coping strategies, psychological distress, and quality of life (QoL) at baseline and at weeks 2, 4, 12, and 24 after diagnosis. Electronic health records were used to assess healthcare utilization and end-of-life (EoL) outcomes, and multivariate analyses were used to assess the relationship between coping and outcomes. Results: Longitudinal utilization of approach-oriented coping strategies was significantly associated with less distress (anxiety: β, –0.18; P<.001; depression symptoms: β, –0.42; P<.001; PTSD symptoms: β, –0.60; P<.001) and better QoL (β, 2.00; P<.001). Longitudinal utilization of avoidant coping strategies was significantly associated with greater distress (anxiety: β, 0.64; depression symptoms: β, 0.54; PTSD symptoms: β, 2.13; P<.001 for all) and worse QoL (β, –4.27; P<.001). Although the use of approach-oriented and avoidant coping strategies was not significantly associated with hospitalization, chemotherapy administration, or hospice use in the last 30 days of life, approach-oriented coping was associated with lower odds of ICU admissions (odds ratio, 0.92; P=.049). Conclusions: Longitudinal use of approach-oriented coping strategies was associated with less psychological distress, better QoL, and a lower likelihood of ICU admission, suggesting a possible target for supportive oncology interventions. Coping strategies did not impact EoL outcomes, and further research is needed to elucidate which patient factors impact EoL decision-making.