Anxiety and depression in Spanish-speaking Latina cancer patients prior to starting chemotherapy

Morgan S. Lee, Dinorah Martinez Tyson, Brian D. Gonzalez, Brent J. Small, Suzanne C. Lechner, Michael H. Antoni, Andrea Vinard, Madeline Krause, Cathy Meade, Paul B. Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: Anxiety and depression can substantially impact the life of a cancer patient, but literature on emotional distress in the Hispanic cancer population is sparse. Additionally, the influence of psychosocial variables including age, acculturation, and spiritual well-being on emotional distress in this population remains unclear. The purpose of the present report was to assess the prevalence of anxiety and depression in Spanish-speaking Latina cancer patients preparing to begin chemotherapy and to explore the predictors and correlates of these outcomes. Methods: Participants were 198 Spanish-speaking Latina cancer patients who completed measures of anxiety, depression, acculturation, and spiritual well-being prior to starting chemotherapy. Results: Prevalence of clinically significant anxious symptomatology was 52%, and prevalence of clinically significant depressive symptomatology was 27%. Longer time since diagnosis and less acculturation predicted more severe anxiety, while longer time since diagnosis, less acculturation, and older age predicted more severe depression (Ps <.05). In multivariable analyses, only time since diagnosis emerged as a significant predictor of anxiety and depression when accounting for the influence of other variables. Greater spiritual well-being was correlated with both less severe anxiety and less severe depression (Ps <.001). Conclusions: The present findings document the high prevalence of emotional distress, particularly anxiety, in this patient population prior to chemotherapy initiation and identify several demographic and clinical factors associated with increased risk for heightened distress. Additionally, these findings suggest that interventions to address distress in this patient population would benefit from including components that seek to improve patients' spiritual well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-338
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Hispanic
  • Latina
  • acculturation
  • anxiety
  • cancer
  • depression
  • oncology
  • spiritual well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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