Evaluation of intrapsychic processes, anxiety, and depression in postmenopausal women affected by breast cancer: A case-control study

Anna Vespa, Marica Ottaviani, Massimo Rosselli, Simonetta Rossini, Lodovico Balducci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The study of intrapsychic modalities can help to understand the association between depression and breast cancer patients and what kind of intervention can be planned. There is evidence that breast cancer is associated with the development of depression. The study of intrapsychic modalities may explain this association. Therefore, we aimed at investigating the intrapsychic and interpersonal processes of the structure of personality, anxiety, and depression of postmenopause breast cancer women. Methods: All participants (n = 63) underwent the following tests: SASB questionnaire (Structural Analysis of Interpersonal Behavior), describing intrapsychic and interpersonal processes, validated on the basis of DSMIV, and the CDQ and ASQ questionnaires describing depression and anxiety. We compared two groups: breast cancer (n = 63) and a healthy control group of women without cancer (n = 83). Results: Patients with breast cancer presented medium to high levels of anxiety and depression and intrapsychic level showed that they had less autonomy in their choices with low acceptance of their own feelings and tendency to be depressed compared to the control group (Cl 1 autonomy F = 10.21, p <0.05, Cl 2 autonomy and love F = 13.01, p <0.001, Cl 3 love F = 10.50, p <0.01, Cl 5 control F = 6.44, p <0.05, Cl 6 control and hate F = 4.49, p <0.05, ASQ F = 6.07, p <0.05, and CDQ F = 6.24, p <0.05). Conclusions: Intrapsychic characteristics such as tendency to depression, inability to being in contact with their own feelings, may be linked to difficulties in facing treatment and their condition of illness. Knowledge of these modalities could allow to plan a psychotherapeutic and multidisciplinary intervention aimed at facing the different phases of medical treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1286
Number of pages6
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Intrapsychic processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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