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Sylvie D. Lambert, Brian Kelly, Allison Boyes, Alexander Cameron, Catherine Adams, Anthony Proietto, and Afaf Girgis

Much attention has been given to implementing routine screening programs in cancer care to improve the management of distress following diagnosis. Although patients might screen positive for distress, several studies have found that most then refuse additional psychosocial support. To inform the development of successful models of distress screening, this qualitative study explored preferences for psychosocial care among 18 women diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer who scored at least 4 on the Distress Thermometer (DT). Participants were recruited from a gynecologic oncology outpatient clinic in Newcastle, Australia, and interviewed. Unanimously, participants felt that completing the DT was an integral part of their cancer care. However, half then refused the referral to see a psychologist. These women typically reported that a referral was not needed, because their rating on the DT reflected transient stressors or physical distress. Many also spoke about their need to cope with the challenges they were facing on their own and the extensive social support they already had in place to help them overcome these challenges. In contrast, women who accepted referral to the psychologist often struggled to cope with several losses they felt had existential and long-term effects. Commonly, these women reported not having the social support they needed, managing several concurrent life stressors, and/or not having the repertoire of coping skills they required to “remain afloat.” Findings from this study begin to bridge the gap between clinicians’ and patients’ expectations of how psychosocial services should be used in response to distress screening.

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Sylvie D. Lambert, Kerrie Clover, Julie F. Pallant, Benjamin Britton, Madeleine T. King, Alex J. Mitchell, and Gregory Carter

Background: The use of different depression self-report scales warrants co-calibration studies to establish relationships between scores from 2 or more scales. The goal of this study was to examine variations in measurement across 5 commonly used scales to measure depression among patients with cancer: Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-Depression subscale (HADS-D), Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), and Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-Depression subscale (DASS-D). Methods: The depression scales were completed by 162 patients with cancer. Participants were also assessed by the major depressive episode module of the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition. Rasch analysis and receiver operating characteristic curves were performed. Results: Rasch analysis of the 5 scales indicated that these all measured depression. The HADS and BDI-II had the widest measurement range, whereas the DASS-D had the narrowest range. Co-calibration revealed that the cutoff scores across the scales were not equivalent. The mild cutoff score on the PHQ-9 was easier to meet than the mild cutoff score on the CES-D, BDI-II, and DASS-D. The HADS-D possible cutoff score was equivalent to cutoff scores for major to severe depression on the other scales. Optimal cutoff scores for clinical assessment of depression were in the mild to moderate depression range for most scales. Conclusions: The labels of depression associated with the different scales are not equivalent. Most markedly, the HADS-D possible case cutoff score represents a much higher level of depression than equivalent scores on other scales. Therefore, use of different scales will lead to different estimates of prevalence of depression when used in the same sample.