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Economic Status Linked to Anxiety, Depression in Cancer

Conditions declined in women with high economic status, increased in low economic-status women

MONDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Women with low socioeconomic status (SES) who are diagnosed with breast cancer are likely to suffer higher levels of anxiety and depression than women with medium or high SES, according to a study published online Feb. 8 in Cancer.

Janet S. de Moor, Ph.D., of the Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues administered questionnaires to 487 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ) and collected information on demographics, SES, psychosocial issues, and clinical factors at baseline and nine months after diagnosis.

The researchers found that measures of anxiety and depression at baseline and nine months were inversely associated with SES. While depression remained nearly constant for low and medium SES women over the study period, it declined in high SES women. Anxiety increased somewhat in medium SES women, increased markedly in low SES women, and declined in high SES women. The authors further note that social support did not compensate for low SES in anxiety or depression.

"Although we could not determine the pathways through which financial status increased distress, our results suggested that women with low financial status may benefit from a psychosocial intervention that is designed to accommodate their unique needs," de Moor and colleagues conclude.

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