Gender in psycho-oncology: focus on resilience and affective disorders among patients affected by lymphoma

Alessandra Miraglia Raineri, Rosapia Lauro Grotto, Giulia Fioravanti, Francesco Rotella, Renato Alterini, Alberto Bosi, Carlo Faravelli


Objective: Evaluating gender differences in resilience, depression, and anxiety levels in patients suffering from lymphoma and exploring possible association between constructs.

Method: The study enrolled a consecutive series of 110 patients suffering from lymphoma compared with 140 controls matched for age, gender, and education. Several validated instruments were used: to measure resilience, anxious and depressive symptoms. Comparisons between groups were performed using a one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Pearson Correlation’s was used to investigate the associations between constructs.

Results: Significant gender differences between female and male patients with lymphoma were found for all the explored dimensions. Psychological constructs seemed to be more compromised in the patients’ group than in the control group and specifically more in women than in men. This finding underlines higher sensitiveness for women affected by lymphoma. Resilience (i.e., SOC and SOM scores) and level of depression and anxiety are more strongly associated among female patients than among male patients.

Conclusion: The main finding of the present study is that for patients suffering from lymphoma, resilience and psychopathology have a different pathway based on gender. These gender differences can be considered to prompt appropriate tailored psychological treatments for depressive and anxious symptoms in onco- hematology. Women with lymphomas displayed lower mean in resilience score (SOC and SOM), and greater level of depression and anxiety than women in the control group. The comparisons between men with lymphomas and men in the control group point out significant differences only for the level of depression and anxiety which was higher in male patients than in male controls.  On the other hand, women with lymphoma displayed poorer level of Resilience (SOC and SOM) and higher level of depression and anxiety than men affected by Lymphoma.


Gender differences; Depression; Anxiety; Resilience; Lymphoma; Protective factors.

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