Assessment of the psychometric properties of the Detection of Emotional Distress Scale in cancer patients

Joaquín T. Limonero, Dolors Mateo, Jorge Maté-Méndez, Jesús González-Barboteo, Ramón Bayés, Montserrat Bernaus, Carme Casas, Montserrat López, Agustina Sirgo, Silvia Viel

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To evaluate and alleviate the emotional distress suffered by advanced cancer patients, simple screening methods that can be easily used by health staff and easily understood by patients are required. The objective of this multicenter study was to analyze the psychometric properties and clinical utility of the Detection of Emotional Distress (DED) scale in advanced cancer patients attending a palliative care unit. Methods: The DED scale was administered to 105 advanced cancer patients attended in five palliative care units in Catalonia (Spain). Results: A total of 58.3% of the patients had moderate to severe emotional distress, a result similar to those of other scales such as the emotional thermometer. Statistical analysis of ROC curves suggested that the cutoff for the detection of emotional distress by the DED scale was equivalent to a score of ≥ 9 points, with a sensitivity and specificity above 75%. Conclusions: The DED scale is useful and easy to use in the identification of emotional distress in advanced cancer patients attended in palliative care units. This scale could also be applied in other patients and health care fields, such as patients with chronic diseases, home care, and primary care. © 2011 SESPAS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-152
JournalGaceta Sanitaria
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • Neoplasms
  • Palliative care
  • Psychological distress
  • Psychological tests
  • Psychometrics


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