Abstract: Adolescent and young adult cancer survivors may experience posttraumatic stress responses following cancer diagnosis or treatment.
The current paper reviews 23 studies reporting the occurrence of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and associated predictors of these outcomes in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. Results indicate considerable variability among prevalence estimates of PTSD (0%–34.8%) and PTSS (4.4%–78%).
Measurement inconsistencies limiting the ascertainment of reliable prevalence and risk estimates are discussed in the context of the reviewed literature.
Specifically, differences in assessment measures utilized, the timing of assessment relative to diagnosis, the criteria used to define the outcome, and identification of the precipitating traumatic event may account for discrepancies in prevalence and risk estimates across studies.
The application of specific PTSD diagnostic criteria to a survivorship population is discussed. Empirically supported interventions utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy approaches for the treatment of PTSS in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors are identified.
Keywords: posttraumatic stress, adolescent and young adult, cancer survivors.