Salud Mental

Psychophysiological stress response of newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients with and without risk of metabolic syndrome


Veronica Neri-Flores
Juan Alejandro Torres-Domínguez
Alejandro Mohar-Betancourt
María Dolores Rodríguez-Ortiz
Andrea Castro-Sánchez
Carmen Lizette Gálvez-Hernández


Introduction. Little is known about how metabolic comorbidity affects stress response during breast cancer (BRCa) after a recent diagnosis.

Objective. To evaluate the physiological and psychological differences between the BRCa-RSxM groups and those with BRCa alone, and the influence of psychological variables and comorbidity in terms of stress response.

Method. Comparative non-experimental causal-descriptive study. Fifty patients recently diagnosed with BRCa (25 with BRCa and 25 with BRCa-RSxM) in a convenience sample participated. Frontal muscle activity and skin conductance were recorded in response to stressful conditions. Quality of life, perceived stress, and coping strategies scales were used.

Results. The presence of comorbidity (p = .001; p = .02), perceived stress (p = .004; p = .03), and social quality of life (p = .01; p = .01) influenced muscle activation and conductance during the emotional stressor (ES). Putting the stressful situation into perspective as a cognitive coping strategy was related to a decrease in activation (p = .04). An increase in physiological activation during the cognitive stressor (CS) was influenced by comorbidity (p = .05) and quality of social life (p = .01; p = .01). In turn, a decrease was influenced by the increase in age (p = .02).

Discussion. Physiological vulnerability, coping strategies (behavioral and cognitive), and prior learning influenced the resulting reaction during the stressful situation.

Conclusion. A metabolic disease, as a prelude to an oncological, may cause physiological vulnerability to respond adequately to stressful conditions.
Breast cancer, comorbidity, stress, psychophysiology, clinical psychology


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