Context: Distress and anxiety about issues related to death and dying is commonly experienced in patients with advanced disease and a limited life expectancy.
Objectives: To evaluate the psychometric properties of the German version of the Death and Dying Distress Scale (DADDS-G) in advanced cancer patients.
Methods: We recruited advanced patients with mixed tumor entities (Union for International Cancer Control [UICC] Stage III/IV) treated in two German University Medical Centers during their outpatient treatment. After testing a preliminary version of the state-of-the-art translated original Death and Dying Distress Scale, we analyzed the psychometric properties of the shortened nine-item adapted DADDS-G using validated instruments measuring distress, anxiety, depression, fear of progression, and quality of life.
Results: We obtained complete questionnaires from 77 of 93 patients with advanced cancer (response rate: 83%). Participants were mostly married or cohabiting (75%), well-educated, and both sexes were almost equally represented (52% men; mean age 58 years, SD = 12). The total mean DADDS-G score was 13.3 (SD = 8.5). Patients reported to be most distressed by the feeling of being a burden to others. The exploratory factor analysis led to one factor that accounted for more than 59% of the variance. The DADDS-G's internal consistency was excellent with Cronbach alpha = 0.91. The confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated a very good model fit. Death-related anxiety was significantly associated with distress, depression, anxiety, fear of progression, and lower quality of life (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Results provide further evidence that the DADDS-G is a valid and reliable instrument of high clinical relevance for use in patients with advanced cancer.
Keywords: Death anxiety; advanced cancer; assessment; distress; palliative care.
Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.