Objectives: To examine the prevalence and predictors of depression and anxiety in palliative care patients with cancer in Western Australia and New South Wales.
Design, setting and participants: A descriptive study of 266 consecutive patients at a range of inpatient and outpatient settings including home care, hospices, and private and tertiary care hospitals in WA and NSW from 1 March to 30 June 2002.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported anxiety and depression using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) at a cut-off score of > or = 8 on each subscale (depression and anxiety) for possible cases, and of > or = 11 for probable cases; a cut-off score of > or = 19 was used for probable combined depression and anxiety.
Results: Patients included 200 in WA and 66 in NSW. For the whole sample, 45.8% of patients were possibly depressed and 22.7% probably depressed; 36.9% were possibly anxious and 19.8% probably anxious. About 25% of patients had probable combined depression and anxiety. Logistic regression analyses indicated that past anxiety in the family predicted probable depression, while age, marital status and past depression predicted probable anxiety. Age and past depression predicted probable combined depression and anxiety.
Conclusions: These findings underscore the need for routine screening for anxiety and depression in palliative care settings, including questions about past personal and family history of anxiety and depression, and the need for a range of interventions and support services.