Longitudinal study of adaptation to the stress of bone marrow transplantation

Betsy L. Fife, Gertrude A. Huster, Kenneth G. Cornetta, Victoria N. Kennedy, Luke P. Akard, E. Randolph Broun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Purpose: This prospective longitudinal study of adaptation to bone marrow transplantation (BMT) addressed three questions: (1) When during BMT do individuals experience the greatest distress? (2) What factors are associated with this distress? (3) Are there variables that could be potential clinical indicators of persons in greatest need of preventive intervention? Patients and Methods: One hundred one participants undergoing either an autologous or allogeneic BMT completed questionnaires before hospitalization, before bone marrow infusion, 7 days and 14 days after transplantation, and then 1 month, 3 months, and 12 months after hospitalization. Adaptation was indicated by the degree of emotional distress. Independent variables were personal control, social support from specific sources, cognitive response, self-perception, and coping strategies, controlling for symptomatology. Results: The greatest emotional distress occurred after admission to the hospital and before the bone marrow infusion. Anxiety and depression decreased 1 week after the transplant, although symptomatology increased during this time. The periods of least emotional distress were 3 months and 1 year after transplantation. Factors that accounted for the greatest variance in emotional distress/adaptation were the degree of emotional distress at baseline, personal control, cognitive response, and symptomatology. Conclusion: According to this longitudinal study, which includes pretransplant data, data from in-hospital transplantation, and posttransplant data, (1) psychosocial vulnerability of these BMT recipients was greatest during hospitalization before the transplant, (2) perceived personal control may be a potential indicator of vulnerability to secondary psychosocial morbidity, and (3) the demonstrated significance of psychosocial well-being before BMT indicates the importance of obtaining prospective data for both research and clinical purposes. (C) 2000 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1539-1549
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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