Publications by authors named "Tommaso Micheloni"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Defense mechanisms in cancer patients: a systematic review.

J Psychosom Res 2018 12 29;115:76-86. Epub 2018 Oct 29.

Department of Surgical, Medical and Molecular Pathology, Critical and Care Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

The importance of defense mechanisms in cancer progression and adaptation have been largely observed. However, few studies referred to the generally accepted hierarchical organization of defenses and used validated measurements for defensive assessment. In this systematic review, we investigated the whole hierarchy of defense mechanisms and how they associate with various psychological aspects in cancer patients. A literature search was conducted using electronic databases. Among 1570 records published from 1990 to date, only 15 articles met inclusion criteria. Findings related to cancer patients' defensive functioning and its relations with other physical and psychological variables were extracted. A general consistency emerges on the role of defense mechanisms in cancer progression and recovery. Following the hierarchical organization of defenses, higher physical and emotional functioning emerged as being associated with High-adaptive defenses, while Mental Inhibition defenses, in particular repression, promote psychosomatic symptoms, passive decisional preferences and worse physical and emotional health. Disavowal defenses foster lower anxiety and higher emotional functioning by denying anxiety about death. Image distortion defenses, including both Minor and Major image-distorting defenses, were more frequent in cancer patients than in control groups and finally, Action defenses predicted sleep disturbance and lower survival probability. The early detection of maladaptive defensive functioning may foster appropriate psychotherapeutic intervention and prevent worsening of the illness. Further investigations are required to replicate these findings and highlight associations between defense mechanisms and various aspects of mental functioning in cancer patients.
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December 2018

Potentially traumatic events, post-traumatic stress disorder and post-traumatic stress spectrum in patients with fibromyalgia.

Clin Exp Rheumatol 2019 Jan-Feb;37 Suppl 116(1):39-43. Epub 2018 Apr 24.

Psychiatric Clinic, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Italy.

Objectives: Fibromyalgia (FM) is defined as a severe, chronic, non-articular rheumatic condition characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain, hyperalgesia and generalised tender points, in the absence of inflammatory or structural musculoskeletal abnormalities. Pain is the predominant symptom, allodynia and hyperalgesia are common signs. Extreme fatigue, impaired cognition and non-restorative sleeping difficulties coexist in addition to other somatic symptoms. Several studies suggest there is a meaningful relationship between FM and the psychological symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental disorder that can develop after a person has been exposed to a traumatic event, characterised by a specific set of symptoms including re-experiencing of the event, avoidance and numbing and arousal. The present study investigates the impact of lifetime potentially traumatic events, including losses, and of post-traumatic stress symptoms on the severity of illness in patients with fibromyalgia (FM).

Methods: Sixty-one patients with FM, diagnosed according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria, were consecutively enrolled at the Unit of Rheumatology, University of Pisa, Italy. Assessments included: the SCID-5 and the Trauma and Loss Spectrum Self-Report (TALS-SR) lifetime version.

Results: 21.3% of the subjects (n=13) met the criteria for "partial" PTSD: 57.4% criterion B, 42.6% criterion C, 31.1 criterion D and 44.3% criterion E. Fibromyalgia patients without PTSD reported significantly lower scores in all domains compared to the patients with partial PTSD, the latter ones reporting significantly lower scores in all domains compared to full PTSD with the exception of domain I. In particular, these differences were noticeable in Domain VI and Domain VIII.

Conclusions: The results of the study show that fibromyalgic patients with PTSD report more potentially traumatic events, avoidance symptoms, numbing, arousal, maladaptive coping and personality characteristics compared to patients with partial or without PTSD; these results could indicate that loss and/or trauma events represent a risk factor for the development of symptoms of FM in genetically predisposed individuals.
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May 2019