Using Disease-Related and Demographic Variables to Form Cancer-Distress Risk Groups

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The use of disease-related (i.e., stage, phase, perceived health) and demographic (i.e., age, education, income) variables to identify subgroups of cancer patients and survivors manifesting divergent risk for psychosocial adjustment problems was assessed. Clustering procedures distinguished three clusters across two subsamples. In each subsample, low-risk participants had a low stage, a later phase, high perceived health, an older age, and a high education and income; moderate-risk participants had a low stage, a later phase, high perceived health, a greater age, and a low education and income; and high-risk individuals had high stage, an earlier phase, low perceived health, an average age, and a low education and income. Mean difference analyses showed that low-risk participants had higher psychosocial adjustment than high- and moderate-risk participants. High-risk participants had lower psychosocial adjustment than moderate-risk participants. Therisk for psychosocial adjustment problems may be influenced by disease-related and demographic variables, and implications for the targeting of interventions are discussed.

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Journal of Behavioral Medicine