Distress Thermometer: validation of a brief screening instrument to detect distress in oncology patients

The specialized literature provides instruments measuring stress for general application. Those instruments have been employed in occupational and health contexts. But since 1997, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends the adoption of a specific measuring instrument for the assessment of cancer patients. Considering the existence of clinical and scientific interest to develop future meta-analysis studies in the field of Oncology, which will include Brazilian samples, the adaptation and validation of the Distress Thermometer (TD) was undertaken. The effectiveness of the TD in assessing distress was verified by comparison with the Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD), a clinically established tool for evaluating distress. In order to that, a sample of 83 patients answered the TD and the HAD. The data were analyzed using SPSS 15.0. Results of the analysis indicated 82% for sensitivity and 98% for specificity. Using the TD appeared feasible and effective for psychological distress screening.

Distress thermometer; Validation; Stress; Psycho-oncology

Universidade de São Francisco, Programa de Pós-Graduação Stricto Sensu em Psicologia R. Waldemar César da Silveira, 105, Vl. Cura D'Ars (SWIFT), Campinas - São Paulo, CEP 13045-510, Telefone: (19)3779-3771 - Campinas - SP - Brazil
E-mail: revistapsico@usf.edu.br