Predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder following cancer

Maria Kangas, Jane L. Henry, Richard A. Bryant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a diagnosis of cancer. Individuals who were recently diagnosed with 1st onset head and neck or lung malignancy (N = 82) were assessed within 1 month of diagnosis for acute stress disorder (ASD) and other psychological responses including depression; individuals were reassessed (N = 63) for PTSD 6 months following their cancer diagnosis. At the initial assessment ASD was diagnosed in 28% of participants, and 22% met criteria for PTSD at 6-months follow-up. Peritraumatic dissociative symptoms at the time of receiving one's cancer diagnosis was the sole predictor of PTSD severity at 6-months follow-up. Elevated dissociative symptoms and greater distress at the initial assessment were the best predictors of PTSD caseness at 6-months follow-up. This study provides evidence for identifying recently diagnosed cancer patients who may benefit from psychological assistance in order to prevent chronic psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-585
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

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