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Psychological Distress After A Diagnosis Of Malignant Mesothelioma In A Group Of Patients And Caregivers At The National Priority Contaminated Site Of Casale Monferrato

Michela Bonafede, Antonella Granieri, Alessandra Binazzi, Carolina Mensi, Federica Grosso, Gianluca Santoro, Isabella Giulia Franzoi, Alessandro Marinaccio, Fanny Guglielmucci

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Background: Patients of malignant mesothelioma (MM) and their caregivers face significant physical and psychological challenges. The purpose of the present study is to examine the emotional impact after the diagnosis of MM in a group of patients and familial caregivers in a National Priority Contaminated Site (NPCS). Methods: A sample of 108 patients and 94 caregivers received a sociodemographic/clinical questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory II, the Davidson Trauma Scale, the Coping Orientation to the Problems Experienced—New Italian Version, and the Defense style questionnaire. The risk of depressive and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in relation to the strategies of coping and defense mechanisms was estimated in patients and caregivers separately by logistic regression models. Results: For patients, a high risk of depression was associated with high usage of Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ) Isolation (OR: 53.33; 95% CI: 3.22–882.30; p = 0.01) and DSQ Somatization (OR: 16.97; 95% CI: 1.04–275.90; p = 0.05). Other significant risks emerged for some coping strategies and some defenses regarding both depression and trauma in patients and caregivers. Conclusions: This research suggests that for both patients and caregivers unconscious adaptive processes have a central role in dealing with overwhelming feelings related to the disease.