Perceptions of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and Coping Predict Emotional Distress During the Acute Phase After Transplantation

Michael Baliousis

Michael Rennoldson

David L. Dawson

Jayne Mills

Roshan das Nair

cancer, oncology, stem cell, bone marrow, perceptions, coping
ONF 2017, 44(1), 96-107. DOI: 10.1188/17.ONF.96-107

Purpose/Objectives: To test whether a widely used model of adjustment to illness, the self-regulatory model, explains the patterns of distress during acute hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). According to the model, perceptions of HSCT, coping, and coping appraisals are associated with distress.

Design: Longitudinal, correlational.

Setting: The Centre for Clinical Haematology at Nottingham City Hospital and the Department of Haematology at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, both in the United Kingdom.

Sample: 45 patients receiving mostly autologous transplantations for a hematologic malignancy.

Methods: Patients were assessed at baseline, on transplantation day, and two and four weeks after transplantation using three questionnaires: the short-form Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21), Brief Coping With Problems Experienced (Brief COPE), and Brief Illness Perceptions Questionnaire (Brief IPQ) adapted for HSCT. Multilevel regression was used to analyze the clustered dataset.

Main Research Variables: Psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, stress, and overall distress (DASS-21); use of different coping styles (Brief COPE); and perceptions of HSCT and coping appraisals (Brief IPQ).

Findings: As suggested by the self-regulatory model, greater distress was associated with negative perceptions of HSCT, controlling for the effects of confounding variables. Mixed support was found for the model’s predictions about the impact of coping styles on distress. Use of active and avoidant coping styles was associated with more distress during the acute phase after HSCT.

Conclusions: Negative perceptions of HSCT and coping contribute to psychological distress during the acute phase after HSCT and suggest the basis for intervention.

Implications for Nursing: Eliciting and discussing patients’ negative perceptions of HSCT beforehand and supporting helpful coping may be important ways to reduce distress during HSCT.

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