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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Personality, choice of coping and T stage predict level of distress in head and neck cancer patients during follow-up

The aim of the present study was to investigate to what extent TNM stage, treatment level, personality, choice of coping, mood and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) scores predicted distress as measured by general health questionnaire (GHQ) in successfully treated head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients.

All patients younger than 80 years who had been diagnosed with HNSCC in western Norway in the period from 1992 to 1997, and who had survived until 1999, were sampled. Ninety-six patients (90% response rate) were included 48 ± 2 months after diagnosis.

We determined personality by the Eysenck personality inventory, coping by the COPE questionnaire; HRQoL by EORTC QLQ questionnaire; and mood by Beck depression inventory (BDI).

Fifty-five of 58 eligible patients were interviewed a second time 47 ± 1 months after the first interview where neuroticism and GHQ-30 questionnaires were answered.

Both HRQoL [explained variance (EV), 9–40%] and BDI (EV 26–30%) scores predicted the GHQ scores. Numerical T stage was inversely associated with GHQ scores (EV ~10%). High neuroticism generally predicted high GHQ scores (EV 16–28%). Avoidance focused, problem focused, drinking to cope predicted GHQ scores (EV 8–14%) and high alcohol consumption (EV ~8%) predicted GHQ scores.

The present association pattern could still be shown when adjusted for gender, age and educational level when studied by multiple
regression analyses.

In conclusion, lowered HRQoL, low mood, a high T stage, high alcohol consumption, high neuroticism, coping by avoidance and coping by problem solving directly predicted worse distress as measured by high GHQ scores, whereas neuroticism was also associated with GHQ through choice of coping.

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