Endocrine Abstracts (2011) 26 P196

Coping strategies in patients after treatment for functioning or non-functioning pituitary adenomas

J Tiemensma, A A Kaptein, A M Pereira, J W A Smit, J A Romijn & N R Biermasz


Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Context and objective: Coping strategies may affect quality of life (QoL), which is decreased in patients after treatment for Cushing’s disease, acromegaly, or non-functioning macroadenomas (NFMA). We aimed to explore coping strategies in these patients, since this has never been done before.

Design: A cross sectional study.

Subjects: We included patients treated for Cushing’s disease (n=42), for acromegaly (n=80), and for NFMA (n=61). These patients were compared with three reference populations: an a-select sample from the Dutch population (n=712), patients with chronic pain (n=59), and patients receiving primary care psychology services (n=525). Furthermore, the three patient groups were compared with each other. Coping strategies were assessed by the Utrecht Coping List. The protocol was approved by the Medical Ethics Committee.

Results: Compared to the a-select sample, patients with pituitary adenomas reported less active coping (P<0.0001), sought less social support (P<0.0001), and reported more avoidant coping (P=0.008). In contrast, patients treated for pituitary adenomas reported somewhat better coping strategies than patients with chronic pain and those with psychological disease. When patients with different pituitary adenomas were compared, patients treated for Cushing’s disease sought more social support than patients treated for NFMA (P=0.035).

Conclusions: Patients treated for pituitary adenomas display different and less effective coping strategies compared with healthy controls. A targeted intervention might help to stimulate patients to use a more active coping strategy and to seek social support, instead of an avoiding coping strategy. This might, in turn, improve their QoL.

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