J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2011 Apr;33(3):194-8
Department of Medical Rehabilitation, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
Childhood cancer survivors are thought to be at risk of psychological difficulties. We examined the prevalence of depressive symptoms and mental well-being in adult long-term survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at a mean age of 20 years after the cessation of therapy. Depressive symptoms were assessed with Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-21) and mental distress with General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) among 73 ALL survivors and 146 healthy controls. The ALL survivors obtained significantly lower BDI scores (P=0.046) compared with the controls, indicating less depressive symptoms among the ALL survivors. BDI scores indicated a significantly less frequent moderate or severe depression in the ALL survivors compared with the controls (P=0.039). BDI scores indicated no depression in 80.8% of the ALL survivors and 73.3% of the control group. The female ALL survivors obtained lower BDI scores than did the female controls (P=0.005). No difference was found in GHQ-12 scores between the survivors and the controls. Survivors of ALL reported fewer depressive symptoms and equal mental well-being compared with healthy controls. Our findings support the idea that childhood leukemia survivors' subjective experience of well-being is possibly affected by repressive adaptive style.