High demoralization in a minority of oophorectomized BRCA1/2 mutation carriers influences quality of life

Marieke Arts-de Jong, Cor A.J. DeJong, Rosella P. Hermens, David W. Kissane, Leon M. Massuger, Nicoline Hoogerbrugge, Judith B. Prins, Joanne A. deHullu

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Demoralization is a relatively neglected issue in which low morale and poor coping result from a stressor such as familial cancer risk. Female BRCA1/2 mutation carriers are highly susceptible for developing breast and ovarian cancer. The aim of this study was to evaluate demoralization in oophorectomized BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and its relation to quality of life. Methods: This cross-sectional study examined 288 oophorectomized BRCA1/2 mutation carriers using the following standardized self-report measures: Demoralization Scale, EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire-C30, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Cancer Worry Scale. Results: The mean score on the Demoralization Scale was 17.8 (SD 14.0). A clinically significant level of demoralization, defined as a score ≥30, was found in 45 BRCA1/2 mutation carriers (16%). Being highly demoralized was associated with a significantly lower quality of life, and higher levels of physical problems, anxiety and cancer worries. No demographic or clinical factors could predict higher levels of demoralization. Conclusions: Our findings established that a clear proportion of oophorectomized BRCA1/2 mutation carriers experience demoralization impacting on their well-being. Further research is needed to explore the natural trajectory of demoralization and the resultant need for support in these women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2017


  • Anxiety
  • BRCA mutation
  • demoralization
  • quality of life
  • risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy

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