The Anxiety Depression Pathway Among Men Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis: Cross-Sectional Interactions Between Anger Responses and Loneliness

Journal Abstract: American Journal of Men’s Health May-June 2021

Simon M. Rice, David Kealy, John S. Ogrodniczuk, Zac E. Seidler, Gabriela Montaner, Suzanne Chambers, and John L. Oliffe

DOI: 10.1177/15579883211023699

“Anger has been a largely neglected emotion in prostate cancer research and intervention. This paper highlights the role of anger in the anxiety depression pathway among men with prostate cancer, and whether its impact is dependent on loneliness. Data are presented from a sample of men with prostate cancer (N = 105, M = 69.12 years, prostatectomy = 63.8%) and analysed using conditional process analysis. Dimensions of anger were evaluated as parallel mediators in bi-directional anxiety and depression pathways. Loneliness was evaluated as a conditional moderator of identified significant mediation relationships. Moderate severity depression (16.5%) was endorsed more frequently than moderate severity anxiety (8.6%, p = .008), with 19.1% of the sample reporting past two-week suicide ideation. Consistent with hypotheses, anger-related social interference (but not other dimensions of anger) significantly mediated the anxiety-depression pathway, but not the reverse depression-anxiety pathway. This indirect effect was conditional on men experiencing loneliness. Sensitivity analyses indicated the observed moderated mediation effect occurred for affective, but not somatic symptoms of depression. Findings support anger-related social interference (as opposed to anger frequency, intensity, duration or antagonism) as key to explaining the previously established anxiety-depression pathway. Results underscore the need for enhanced psychosocial supports for men with prostate cancer, with a particular focus on relational aspects. Supporting men with prostate cancer to adaptively process and manage their anger in ways that ameliorate negative social consequences will likely enhance their perceived social support quality, which may in turn better facilitate post-diagnosis recovery and emotional adjustment.”

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