The Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders Among Cancer Patients

Leonard R. Derogatis, Gary R. Morrow, John Fetting, Doris Penman, Sheryl Piasetsky, Arthur M. Schmale, Michael Henrichs, Charles L.M. Carnicke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1397 Scopus citations


Two hundred fifteen randomly accessed cancer patients who were new admissions to three collaborating cancer centers were examined for the presence of formal psychiatric disorder. Each patient was assessed in a common protocol via a psychiatric interview and standardized psychological tests. The American Psychiatric Association's DSM-III diagnostic system was used in making the diagnoses. Results indicated that 47% of the patients received a DSM-III diagnosis, with 44% being diagnosed as manifesting a clinical syndrome and 3% with personality disorders. Approximately 68% of the psychiatric diagnoses consisted of adjustment disorders, with 13% representing major affective disorders (depression). The remaining diagnoses were split among organic mental disorders (8%), personality disorders (7%), and anxiety disorders (4%). Approximately 85% of those patients with a positive psychiatric condition were experiencing a disorder with depression or anxiety as the central symptom. The large majority of conditions were judged to represent highly treatable disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-757
Number of pages7
JournalJAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 11 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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