Age-specific norms and determinants of anxiety and depression in 731 women with breast cancer recruited through a population-based cancer registry

Eur J Cancer. 2003 Apr;39(6):755-62. doi: 10.1016/s0959-8049(02)00814-6.


The aim of this study was to determine population norms and determinants of anxiety and depression in a population-based sample of 731 women with breast cancer (aged 23-60 years) with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HADS). The prevalence of 'probable' psychological morbidity due to anxiety was 23% and due to depression was 3%. When the women identified as 'possible' cases were included, the respective proportions were 45 and 12%. Higher anxiety was present in younger, less educated women not born in Australia. There was no clear pattern of risk factors for depression. These population-based findings highlight the need for clinicians to be aware that age, education and country of birth may identify a particularly vulnerable subgroup. While brief scales such as the HADS are limited in their ability to accurately predict a clinical diagnosis, high scores identify those who may warrant referral for clinical evaluation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support