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Table 1. Examples of self-report Screening Instruments Used for Identification of Psychosocial Distress in Cancer Patients

Title  Items (no.)  Time (min) Constructs Measured 
Distress Thermometer (DT) & Problem List [2,19]Varies2–3Distress and problems related to the distress
Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) [10]537–10Somatization, anxiety, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, psychoticism, obsessive-compulsiveness
Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI-18) [10]183–5Somatization, depression, anxiety, general distress
Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) [20-22]145–10Symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety
Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT; formerly the FACT) [23]275–104 domains of quality of life: physical, functional, social/family, emotional well-being
Profile of Mood States (POMS) [24]653–56 mood states: anxiety, fatigue, confusion, depression, anger, vigor
Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale [25]205–10Symptoms of depression


  1. Zabora JR: Screening procedures for psychosocial distress. In: Holland JC, Breitbart W, Jacobsen PB, et al., eds.: Psycho-oncology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1998, pp 653-61. 

  2. Derogatis LR, Melisaratos N: The Brief Symptom Inventory: an introductory report. Psychol Med 13 (3): 595-605, 1983.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  3. Hegel MT, Collins ED, Kearing S, et al.: Sensitivity and specificity of the Distress Thermometer for depression in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Psychooncology 17 (6): 556-60, 2008.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  4. Kugaya A, Akechi T, Okuyama T, et al.: Prevalence, predictive factors, and screening for psychologic distress in patients with newly diagnosed head and neck cancer. Cancer 88 (12): 2817-23, 2000.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  5. Love AW, Kissane DW, Bloch S, et al.: Diagnostic efficiency of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale in women with early stage breast cancer. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 36 (2): 246-50, 2002.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  6. Cella DF, Tulsky DS, Gray G, et al.: The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy scale: development and validation of the general measure. J Clin Oncol 11 (3): 570-9, 1993.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  7. McNair DM, Lorr M, Droppleman LF: Profile of Mood States Manual. San Diego, Calif: Educational and Industrial Testing Service, 1992. 

  8. Dugan W, McDonald MV, Passik SD, et al.: Use of the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale in cancer patients: feasibility as a screening tool. Psychooncology 7 (6): 483-93, 1998 Nov-Dec.  [PUBMED Abstract]