Depression and family interaction among low-income, predominantly hispanic cancer patients: A longitudinal analysis

Hyunsung Oh, Kathleen Ell, Andrew Subica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: Among cancer patients, family interaction has been associated with depression. According to the stress generation theory, depression among cancer patients triggers stressful interpersonal events that contribute to poor family interactions and additional depression. This conflict may occur with a spouse/partner or other family member, including extended family. This study evaluated the longitudinal association between depression and marital and family conflict among low-income, predominantly Hispanic cancer patients. Methods: Data were collected during a randomized controlled clinical trial of depression treatment among 472 low-income cancer patients with baseline depression scores of 10 or more on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and whose depression symptoms and negative family interactions were assessed at baseline and at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Considering that not all participants were in an intimate relationship, only 237 participants were included in the analysis of marital conflict. Mixed linear modeling with and without decomposition of between- and within-person variability was conducted to examine the longitudinal association between family interaction and depression. Results: Overall, family conflict was significantly associated with changes in depression over time, and marital conflict was significantly associated with mean depression levels over 2 years. In addition, within-subject change in both marital and family conflict was significantly associated with within-patient deviation from average depression levels. Conclusions: Findings provide evidence of an association between depression and negative family interaction among depressed cancer patients. Cancer patients with clinically significant depressive symptoms may benefit from clinical assessment and psychotherapy relevant to family interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-434
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Family conflict
  • Family interaction
  • Longitudinal study
  • Marital conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Depression and family interaction among low-income, predominantly hispanic cancer patients: A longitudinal analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this