Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in patients with acute myeloid leukemia

Hermioni L. Amonoo, Thomas W. LeBlanc, Alison R. Kavanaugh, Jason A. Webb, Lara N. Traeger, Annemarie D. Jagielo, Dagny M. Vaughn, Madeleine Elyze, Regina M. Longley, Amir T. Fathi, Gabriela S. Hobbs, Andrew M. Brunner, Nina R. O’Connor, Selina M. Luger, Jillian L. Gustin, Bhavana Bhatnagar, Nora K. Horick, Areej El-Jawahri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) receiving intensive chemotherapy face a life-threatening illness, isolating hospitalization, and substantial physical and psychological symptoms. However, data are limited regarding risk factors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in this population. METHODS: The authors conducted a secondary analysis of data from 160 patients with high-risk AML who were enrolled in a supportive care trial. The PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version was used to assess PTSD symptoms at 1 month after AML diagnosis. The Brief COPE and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Leukemia were to assess coping and quality of life (QOL), respectively. In addition, multivariate regression models were constructed to assess the relation between PTSD symptoms and baseline sociodemographic factors, coping, and QOL. RESULTS: Twenty-eight percent of patients reported PTSD symptoms, describing high rates of intrusion, avoidance, and hypervigiliance. Baseline sociodemographic factors significantly associated with PTSD symptoms were age (B = −0.26; P =.002), race (B = −8.78; P =.004), and postgraduate education (B = −6.30; P =.029). Higher baseline QOL (B = −0.37; P ≤.001) and less decline in QOL during hospitalization (B = −0.05; P =.224) were associated with fewer PTSD symptoms. Approach-oriented coping (B = −0.92; P =.001) was associated with fewer PTSD symptoms, whereas avoidant coping (B = 2.42; P ≤.001) was associated with higher PTSD symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: A substantial proportion of patients with AML report clinically significant PTSD symptoms 1 month after initiating intensive chemotherapy. Patients' baseline QOL, coping strategies, and extent of QOL decline during hospitalization emerge as important risk factors for PTSD, underscoring the need for supportive oncology interventions to reduce the risk of PTSD in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2500-2506
Number of pages7
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2021


  • acute leukemia
  • coping
  • distress
  • hematologic malignancy
  • hypervigilance
  • posttraumatic stress
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • psychological well-being
  • traumatic stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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