Coping Strategies in Melanoma Patients
Michael Trapp, Eva-Maria Trapp, Erika Richtig, Josef Wilhelm Egger, Anna Zampetti, Francesca Sampogna, Peter Michael Rohrer, Peter Komericki, Tanja Strimitzer, Michael Dennis Linder
An observational, questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study was performed to assess whether differences in coping behaviour (positive and negative strategies) between patients with either a recent diagnosis of malignant melanoma (MM) or with benign dermatological disease, were predictive of the diagnosis. Coping strategies were assessed with the German version of the stress-coping questionnaire (SVF 120) in 46 inpatients for whom surgery was planned at the Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Graz, Austria. Subjects were divided into two groups: patients with non-metastatic MM, and patients with benign dermatological diseases (controls). The risk for the diagnosis “melanoma” decreased with higher values of “situation control” (p=0.007) and increased with higher values of resignation (p=0.035) and trivialisation (p=0.039). More-over, the risk for having a MM with thickness >1 mm decreased in patients with higher values in positive coping strategies (p<0.34). These results suggest differences in coping behaviour between patients with MM and those with benign skin diseases and, amidst patients with MM, between patients with different MM thickness; the results may hence lead to earlier, more specific and more effective psychological interventions to improve coping in patients with MM, as differences in coping behaviour seem to appear even in the non-metastatic stage of the disease.