Association of neighborhood-level social determinants of health with psychosocial distress in patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer

Cancer Rep (Hoboken). 2022 Nov;5(11):e1734. doi: 10.1002/cnr2.1734. Epub 2022 Oct 17.


Background and aim: Patients with lung cancer experience high rates of psychosocial distress. They are also more likely to have unresolved, unmet social needs which may contribute to psychosocial distress. Despite this, neighborhood-level social determinants of health (SDOH) in relation to psychosocial distress have not been adequately investigated in patients with lung cancer. The goal of this study is to examine the association between neighborhood-level SDOH and psychosocial distress among a sample of newly diagnosed patients with lung cancer.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included newly diagnosed, adult lung cancer patients from an accredited cancer center. Psychosocial distress was measured with the Distress Thermometer. Neighborhood-level SDOH indicators for income and education were used to create a composite SDOH variable categorized into low, medium, and high deprivation levels. Covariates were age, gender, race/ethnicity, comorbidity index, cancer stage, and insurance status. Using multivariate logistic regression modeling, the association of psychosocial distress with the neighborhood-level SDOH was examined.

Results: The prevalence of psychosocial distress in the sample was 58.4%. Neighborhood-level SDOH indicators were not significantly associated with psychosocial distress. Higher odds of psychosocial distress were significantly associated with being female and having distant or regional cancer versus localized cancer. The age group 66-75 years was significantly associated with lower distress compared with those aged <65 years.

Conclusions: Psychosocial distress was consistently high across all the SDOH deprivation categories; but these neighborhood-level SDOH indicators do not appear to be predictive of psychosocial distress at the time of diagnosis of lung cancer.

Keywords: lung cancer; psychosocial distress; social determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Social Determinants of Health*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires