Posttraumatic Stress as a unique contributor to related health outcomes and healthcare utilization in adult survivors of childhood cancer
Crochet, Emily Kathleen
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Despite its significance in medical populations, research on posttraumatic stress (PTSS) in this population is limited in existing studies by small sample sizes and lack of follow-up data. This manuscript provides review of literature on behavioral health outcomes, which include neurocognitive and psychosocial late effects of disease/treatment, engagement in health-promoting or risk behaviors, and healthcare utilization in the childhood cancer survivor population. The current study examined the impact of PTSS on these domains of functioning, using data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), a multi-institutional sample. Results indicated 13.7% of survivors in our sample experienced PTSS. Survivors with PTSS were at significantly greater risk for emotional distress, poor health-related quality of life, and neurocognitive impairment than survivors without PTSS. PTSS also variably affected healthcare utilization, defined as frequency of contact with the healthcare system for medical services. These findings emphasize the role of PTSS in psychosocial and behavioral health outcomes in survivors already at increased risk for late effects and highlight the need to address PTSS in future preventative interventions.