Personality traits and coping styles explain anxiety in lung cancer patients to a greater extent than other factors

Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2015 May;45(5):456-63. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyv024. Epub 2015 Mar 10.


Objective: Although various factors thought to be correlated with anxiety in cancer patients, relative importance of each factors were unknown. We tested our hypothesis that personality traits and coping styles explain anxiety in lung cancer patients to a greater extent than other factors.

Methods: A total of 1334 consecutively recruited lung cancer patients were selected, and data on cancer-related variables, demographic characteristics, health behaviors, physical symptoms and psychological factors consisting of personality traits and coping styles were obtained. The participants were divided into groups with or without a significant anxiety using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale-Anxiety, and a binary logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors correlated with significant anxiety using a multivariate model.

Results: Among the recruited patients, 440 (33.0%) had significant anxiety. The binary logistic regression analysis revealed a coefficient of determination (overall R(2)) of 39.0%, and the explanation for psychological factors was much higher (30.7%) than those for cancer-related variables (1.1%), demographic characteristics (2.1%), health behaviors (0.8%) and physical symptoms (4.3%). Four specific factors remained significant in a multivariate model. A neurotic personality trait, a coping style of helplessness/hopelessness, and a female sex were positively correlated with significant anxiety, while a coping style of fatalism was negatively correlated.

Conclusions: Our hypothesis was supported, and anxiety was strongly linked with personality trait and coping style. As a clinical implication, the use of screening instruments to identify these factors and intervention for psychological crisis may be needed.

Keywords: adaptation; anxiety; neoplasms; personality; psychological.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Female
  • Helplessness, Learned
  • Hope
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroticism
  • Personality*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires