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Do depressive symptoms predict cancer incidence?: 17-year follow-up of the Whitehall II study

Archer, G; Pikhart, H; Head, J; (2015) Do depressive symptoms predict cancer incidence?: 17-year follow-up of the Whitehall II study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research , 79 (6) pp. 595-603. 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.07.011. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: To explore the association between depressive symptom history and cancer incidence. Methods: Affective/emotional depressive symptoms were assessed using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-30) depression sub-scale across phase 1 (1985-1988), phase 2 (1989-1990), and phase 3 (1991-1994) of the Whitehall II prospective cohort study; ‘chronic’= depressive episode at phase 1, 2 and 3; ‘new’= depressive episode at phase 3 only. Cancer Incidence was obtained from the National Health Service Central Register with an average follow-up of 15.6 years (range 0.08–17.4). The study sample consisted of 6983 participants, aged 35–55 years at baseline. Results were adjusted for age, sex, socio-economic position, health behaviours, health status/conditions, medication, and social support. Results: Over a 17.4 year follow-up, chronic depressive symptoms did not increase the risk of cancer incidence compared to those who never experienced symptoms (hazard ratio (HR)=1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.71-1.49). Participants who experienced new depressive symptoms had an increased risk of cancer incidence in the first 9 years of follow-up (HR=1.89, 95% CI: 1.23-2.90) but no increased risk in later years (HR=0.84, 95% CI: 0.52-1.35). Conclusion: Chronic depressive symptoms were not associated with cancer incidence. In contrast, new-onset symptoms were associated with a substantially increased risk, possibly due to reverse causality.

Type: Article
Title: Do depressive symptoms predict cancer incidence?: 17-year follow-up of the Whitehall II study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.07.011
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.07.011
Language: English
Additional information: This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Non-derivative 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This license allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work for personal and non-commercial use providing author and publisher attribution is clearly stated. Further details about CC BY licenses are available at http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0
Keywords: Cancer, Depression, Depressive symptoms, Longitudinal studies, Psycho-oncology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1470372
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