Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Psychooncology Unit, Rome, Italy
This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of core depressive symptoms among cancer outpatients diagnosed with depressive or adjustment disorders with depressed mood. We also aimed to detect potential differences between patient self-assessment and psychiatrist evaluation in classifying the severity of depression.
Fifty-two outpatients diagnosed with solid tumor malignancy and depressive or adjustment disorder with depressed mood were assessed using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-17) (and its shortened version the HAMD-7) and the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (ZSDS) (and its shortened version BZSDS).
Based on HAMD-7 results, the prevalence of moderate depression was low (7.7%); using the BZSDS moderate depression was absent. Mild depression was identified in 82.3% and 73% of our subjects using the HAMD-7 and the BZSDS, respectively. The strength of agreement between psychiatrist and patients’ self-evaluation for mild depression was “slight”, employing the original and the abbreviated versions of both scales.
Our findings suggest that the prevalence of core depressive symptoms is very low in cancer patients diagnosed with depressive disorder. The lack of a strong agreement between psychiatrist and patient in classifying the severity of depression highlights the importance of factors such as well-being and functional status among depressed cancer patients in their self assessment of depression.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, ‘‘SAPIENZA’’ University of Rome, Viale dell’Universita` 30, Rome 00185, Italy; Tel: 06 49914591; Fax: 06 4454765;