Objective: This study aimed to investigate the current prevalence and determinants of psychological distress and the association of distress with general information, character strengths, medical coping, and social support in Chinese adolescents and young adults (AYAs) aged 15-39 years with cancer.
Methods: A multicenter survey was carried out. Eight hundred and nine patients completed the Chinese version of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network distress thermometer (DT), the three-dimensional inventory of character strengths, the medical coping modes questionnaire, and the Social Support Rating Scale.
Results: The current prevalence of psychological distress in Chinese AYAs with cancer was 83.4%. Binary logistic regression analysis showed that gender, age, educational level, marriage, monthly income, exercise intensity, cancer classifications, treatments, self-control, confrontation, avoidance, and subjective support were all associated with distress. AYA cancer patients who were female, younger, or divorced or had a lower monthly income, education level, or exercise intensity were more likely to have higher level of distress. Compared to AYAs with other cancer classifications, patients with digestive system malignancies, breast cancers, and head and neck malignancies had a higher prevalence of distress. Patients receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy were more likely to be distressed. The higher the self-control, confrontation, avoidance, and subjective support scores were, the lower the prevalence of distress was among AYA cancer patients.
Conclusions: The prevalence of psychological distress in AYA cancer patients was relatively high. Potential interventions targeting exercise intensity, character strengths, medical coping, and social support may decrease the prevalence of psychological distress in this patient population.
Keywords: Adolescent and young adult; cancer; character strengths; distress; medical coping; social support.
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