||5R21CA191989-02 Interpret this number
||Wake Forest University Health Sciences
||Work Ability in Young Adult Surviviors (WAYS): a Quantitative Investigation
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Despite the growing number of young adult cancer survivors,
a group early in their career trajectory, little is known about how cancer-related impairments in physical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning limit work ability and labor force participation among young adult survivors of adolescent and young adult onset cancers. The specific aims for this study are to: (1) document levels of labor force participation, occupation, and educational attainment following cancer treatment in young adult cancer survivors and to describe the relationship between levels of work ability and these outcomes; and (2) determine associations of self-reported physical (including symptoms), cognitive, and psychosocial issues related to cancer diagnosis and treatment with work ability in young adult cancer survivors. This study will take advantage of the Wake Forest National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program Research Base to recruit a representative, ethnically diverse sample of young adult cancer survivors (N=200) aged 25-34 years. Participants will complete cognitive testing and a detailed questionnaire assessing occupation and education status, a variety of work measures, and self-reported physical, psychosocial, and cognitive function. Levels of labor force participation, occupational status, and educational attainment will be compared to national benchmarks for the same age cohort. Study hypotheses are that young adult cancer survivors' work-related and educational outcomes will be lower than national benchmarks, with workplace environment, cancer-related factors (e.g., treatment type, time since diagnosis) and survivor characteristics (e.g., insurance status, social support) serving as moderators. These data will inform future longitudinal research to determine causal links between cancer and work outcomes in young adult survivors versus a matched comparison group. Innovative features of this study include: its focus on young adult survivors, a sizable and under-studied group who are at a formative, transitional time at the beginning of the work trajectory; recruitment through an established network of community cancer providers; a targeted minority recruitment strategy; use of a theory-guided approach; expansion of work-related outcomes to include work ability; and an advisory board with cancer and young adult stakeholders who can provide real-world perspectives on relevant issues. Considering young adulthood as a key transition period, the expected impact of the cancer experience on education and employment outcomes among young adult survivors may have long-term repercussions. This study will provide detailed information essential for designing policy and supportive interventions to aid young adult cancer survivors in achieving occupational and educational success.