Disparities in mental health between rural and nonrural cancer survivors: A preliminary study

Jessica L. Burris, Michael Andrykowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: While much research has sought to identify disparities in cancer incidence, survival, and treatment, little research has sought to identify disparities in mental health (MH) outcomes among cancer survivors. The present study aims to identify disparities in MH outcomes between rural and nonrural cancer survivors. Methods: Cancer survivors who met eligibility criteria were identified through the Kentucky SEER Cancer Registry. Rural status was determined by 2003 USDA Rural-Urban Continuum Codes. 116 (n = 54 rural, 62 nonrural) survivors with diagnoses of breast (n = 42), hematologic (n = 39), or colorectal (n = 35) cancer completed mail-back questionnaires and/or a telephone interview. Results: Rural cancer survivors reported poorer MH functioning (effect size (ES) = 0.45 SD), greater symptoms of anxiety (ES = 0.70) and depression (ES = 0.47), greater distress (ES = 0.41), and more emotional problems (ES = 0.47) than nonrural cancer survivors. Rural and nonrural cancer survivors did not differ consistently in regard to positive MH outcomes, such as benefit finding. The pattern of results was maintained when adjusted for education and physical functioning. Conclusions: Clinically important disparities in MH outcomes were evident between rural and nonrural cancer survivors. Interventions aimed at raising access and utilization of MH services may be indicated for cancer survivors in rural areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-645
Number of pages9
JournalPsycho-Oncology
Volume19
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Healthcare disparities
  • Mental health
  • Oncology
  • Rural health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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