DESCRIPTION: (Applicant's Description)
Considerable research has examined the short-term quality of life (QOL)
effects of cancer diagnosis and treatments. However, comparatively less is
known about QOL issues among long-term survivors (LTS), those who have
survived five or more years after diagnosis. The available data on LTS
conflict as to whether or not LTS continue to experience lasting chemical
changes after cancer. A few psychosocial measures for use with LTS have
recently become available, but they are general measures that do not assess
the more subtle, fine-grained aspects of psychological well-being reported
by many LTS that include cognitive, emotional, and spiritual adaptation
This application for a small grant proposes a two-phase study that addresses
this gap in the literature. The overarching goal of the research is to
examine adaptation to cancer from an adult developmental perspective. Phase
I consists of in-depth qualitative face-to-face interviews with 56 adult LTS
of several types of cancers from a range of age groups. The interviews will
examine how cancer has affected LTS across the lifespan and will yield a
more comprehensive picture of psychological well-being in LTS than has been
previously available in the research literature. Interview data will be
used to develop a measure of psychological well-being for use with LTS.
Phase II consists of a mailed survey of over 1,500 adult LTS. Survey
measures will include the newly-designed measure as well as existing
measures of quality of life. Survey data will be used to describe
psychological well-being in LTS across the adult lifespan and to conduct
preliminary studies of reliability and validity of the new measure.
The specific aims of this application are: (1) to identify unique aspects
of psychological well-being associated with long-term survival after cancer;
(2) to develop an assessment instrument that measures aspects of
psychological well-being in LTS not evaluated by current measures of QOL;
(3) to conduct preliminary examinations of reliability and validity of the
new instrument and to examine the utility of existing instruments in a large
sample of LTS; and (4) to explore the relative contributions of
developmental stage, gender, tumor site, and other cancer-specific variables
to psychological well-being in LTS.
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