GIST patients with a monitoring coping style experience a higher emotional burden. Additionally, monitors exhibit a greater need for information. Although this need for information could potentially result in fears and concerns, recognising it may also create an opening for tailored communication and information.
In a cross-sectional study, Dutch GIST patients completed the shortened version of the Threatening Medical Situations Inventory to determine their coping style, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Cancer Worry Scale, EORTC QLQ-C30 and part of the EORTC QLQ-INFO25.
A total of 307 patients were classified as blunters (n = 175, 57%) or monitors (n = 132, 43%). Coping style was not associated with tumour or treatment variables, but being a female (OR 2.5; 95%CI 1.5-4.1; p= <.001) and higher educated (OR 5.5; 95%CI 2.5-11.9, p= <.001) were associated with higher odds of being a monitor. Monitors scored significantly lower on emotional functioning (mean = 86.8 vs mean = 90.9, p=.044), which is considered a trivial difference, more often experienced severe fear of cancer recurrence or progression (53.0% vs 37.7%, p=.007), and had more concerns about dying from GIST in the future (60.6% vs 47.4%, p=.025). Compared to blunters, monitors were less satisfied with the received healthcare and information, and would have liked to receive more information.
There are two main coping styles regarding information seeking under medical threat; monitoring (information-seeking) and blunting (information-avoiding). The aim of this study is to (1) determine factors associated with a monitoring or blunting coping style in gastro-intestinal stromal tumour (GIST) patients and (2) investigate its association with psychological distress, cancer-related concerns, health-related quality of life and satisfaction with healthcare.