The Relationship between Fatigue and Depression in Patients undergoing Chemotherapy

Background: The fatigue and depression that are experienced by patients undergoing chemotherapy are two separate multidimensional problems that share common features. Aim: To explore the relationship between fatigue and depression in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Method: The study sample consisted of 159 patients undergoing chemotherapy. Data were collected by the completion of the “Piper Fatigue Scale” and the “Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS)”. Statistical analysis was performed by the statistical package SPSS-15 using the x2-test. Results: Of the participants, 34% were men and 66% women. The descriptive data showed that all the patients experienced some level of fatigue, but mild to severe intensity of fatigue was experienced by 40.3%, while mild to severe levels of depression were experienced by 32.3%. Patients who experienced fatigue, either for a long period of time or almost continuously, also reported a severe degree of depression (p≤0.001). Regarding the impact of the intensity of fatigue on the level of depression, it was found that mild or severe intensity of fatigue caused severe level of depression (p≤0.001). In detail, it was found that when the total score of the variables related to the behavioural dimension of fatigue indicated mild to intense intensity, then a severe degree of depression was observed (p≤0.001). A score of mild or severe intensity on affective meaning dimension of the fatigue scale was associated with a severe degree of depression (p≤0.001). A total score indicating mild or intense intensity on the sensory and cognitive dimension of the fatigue scale was also associated with a severe degree of depression (p≤0.001). Conclusions: The intensity of fatigue influences the degree of depression in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Since the symptoms of fatigue and depression that are experienced by patients undergoing chemotherapy are subjective, health professionals should take into consideration the reports of the patients and co-evaluate their personal characteristics that may make them more vulnerable to the manifestation of these symptoms.

Category: Volume 49, N 1
Hits: 652 Hits
Created Date: 15-03-2010
Authors: Maria Polikandrioti , Helen Evagelou , Evagelos Dousis , Dimitrios Koukoularis , Despina Vasiliou , Eleni Kyritsi