Coping strategies have a strong impact on quality of life, depression, and embitterment in patients with Cushing's disease.Pituitary 2016; 19(6):590-600P
Quality of life (QoL) and psychosocial well-being are substantially impaired in patients with Cushing's disease (CD), not only at the acute illness stage but also after therapy; however, the reason for these impairments remains unclear.
In this cross-sectional, patient-reported outcome study, we conducted a postal survey on psychosocial impairment and coping strategies in patients after surgical treatment of CD in three large tertiary referral centers. In total, 176 patients with CD completed a compilation of self-assessment inventories pertaining to depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, HADS), QoL (Short Form SF-36, Tuebingen CD; Tuebingen CD-25), coping style (Freiburg questionnaire on coping with illness, FKV-LIS), and embitterment (Bern Embitterment Inventory), on average 6.8 ± 6.66 years after surgery. Regression analyses were performed to identify predictors of psychosocial impairment.
At the time of the study, 21.8 % of patients suffered from anxiety, 18.7 % experienced an above-average feeling of embitterment, and 13.1 % suffered from depression. Maladaptive coping styles (FKV-LIS subscales depressive coping and minimizing importance) emerged as robust and strong predictors of psychosocial impairment in all inventories; while age, sex, and hydrocortisone intake failed to explain the variance in these measures.
Similar to several studies in non-pituitary patient cohorts (e.g., patients with multiple sclerosis or lower back pain), our results indicate that psychosocial impairment in CD is significantly influenced by how the patient deals with the illness. Therefore, psychological training of positive coping styles could be a helpful complementary therapy in the overall treatment strategy of CD.