Depression Moderates the Relationship between Trait Anxiety, Worry and Attentional Control in Melanoma Survivors

Elizabeth J. Edwards*, Khanh Linh Chu, Nikeith John, Mark S. Edwards, Michael Lyvers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Cancer survivors commonly contend with concurrent cognitive difficulties such as problems with attention and concentration, and psychological distress, including anxiety and depression. However, the associations between attentional and emotional difficulties within the specific context of melanoma survivors remain relatively unexplored. Premised on attentional control theory, the current study employed a cross-sectional design to explore the interplay among trait anxiety (dispositional) and situational anxiety (cancer-related worry), depression and attentional control (ability to inhibit distractors and flexibly shift within and between tasks) in a sample of 187 melanoma survivors aged 18 to 58 years (Mage = 36.83 years, SDage = 5.44 years; 93% female). Data were analyzed using a moderated multiple regression, with anxiety, cancer worry and depression as predictors, and attentional control as the criterion variable. After statistically controlling for the variance of chemotherapy, we found that individuals with higher trait anxiety and higher cancer-related worry reported greater attentional control at low levels of depression, yet poorer attentional control at high depression, relative to individuals with low anxiety. Our findings suggest that anxiety and depression are differentially related to attentional control in melanoma survivors. The results provide a marker for clinicians addressing anxiety and depression in this population. Implications for primary healthcare are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3097
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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