Racial disparities in posttraumatic stress after diagnosis of localized breast cancer: The BQUAL study

Neomi Vin-Raviv, Grace Clarke Hillyer, Dawn L. Hershman, Sandro Galea, Nicole Leoce, Dana H. Bovbjerg, Lawrence H. Kushi, Candyce Kroenke, Lois Lamerato, Christine B. Ambrosone, Heidis Valdimorsdottir, Lina Jandorf, Jeanne S. Mandelblatt, Wei Yann Tsai, Alfred I. Neugut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Background Little is known about the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over time among women diagnosed with breast cancer. This study examines changes in PTSD symptoms in the first 6 months after diagnosis and assesses racial/ethnic differences in PTSD symptomatology over time.MethodsWe recruited women with newly diagnosed breast cancer, stages I to III, from three sites in the United States. Three telephone interviews were conducted: baseline at about 2 to 3 months after diagnosis, first follow-up at 4 months after diagnosis, and second follow-up at 6 months after diagnosis. We measured traumatic stress in each interview using the Impact of Events Scale; recorded sociodemographic, tumor, and treatment factors; and used generalized estimating equations and polytomous logistic regression modeling to examine the associations between variables of interest and PTSD.ResultsOf 1139 participants, 23% reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of PTSD at baseline, 16.5% at first follow-up, and 12.6% at the second follow-up. Persistent PTSD was observed among 12.1% participants, as defined by having PTSD at two consecutive interviews. Among participants without PTSD at baseline, 6.6% developed PTSD at the first follow-up interview. Younger age at diagnosis, being black (odds ratio [OR] = 1.48 vs white, 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.04 to 2.10), and being Asian (OR = 1.69 vs white, 95% CI = 1.10 to 2.59) were associated with PTSD.ConclusionsNearly one-quarter of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer reported symptoms consistent with PTSD shortly after diagnosis, with increased risk among black and Asian women. Early identification of PTSD may present an opportunity to provide interventions to manage symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-572
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 17 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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