Article Abstract

Validation And Reliability of Distress Thermometer in Chinese Cancer Patients

Authors: Li-li Tang, Ye-ning Zhang, Ying Pang, Hai-wei Zhang, Li-li Song


Objective: To examine the validation and reliability of the distress thermometer (DT) recommended by National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) in Chinese cancer patients.
Methods: A total of 574 Chinese cancer patients from Beijing Cancer Hospital completed the detection of DT, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90), Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve and Area Under the Curve (AUC) were used to analyze the validation relative to HADS and SCL-90. The patients with DT≥4 and whose distress caused by emotional problems were interviewed with the MiNi International Neuro-psychiatric Interview (MINI) (Chinese Version 5.0). This version was used to analyze cancer patients’ psychological and Psychiatric symptoms during the cancer process; 3. Another 106 cancer patients in rehabilitation stage and stable condition were asked to fill in DT two times, at the base time and after 7-10 days.
Results: Data of ROC indicates that a DT cutoff score of 4 yielded AUC of 0.80 with a optimal sensitivity (0.80) and specificity (0.70) relative to HADS, and AUC of 0.83 with the greatest sensitivity (0.87) and specificity (0.72) against SCL-90. The DT also has acceptable test-retest reliability (r=0.800, P=0.000); According to the interview results, the most common psychiatric problems cancer patients have adjustment disorder, depression, and anxiety.
Conclusion: The data suggest that DT has acceptable overall accuracy and reliability as a screening tool for testing distress severity and specific problems causing distress in Chinese cancer patients. It is worth being used in oncology clinic, the rapid screening and interview could help caregivers to identify psychological and psychiatric problems of cancer patients and provide useful information for further treatment.

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