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Anxiety and Quality of Life of Women Who Receive Radiation or Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer

Ann M. Schreier
Susan A. Williams
ONF 2004, 31(1), 127-130 DOI: 10.1188/04.ONF.127-130

<p><b>Purpose/Objectives</b>: To examine quality of life (QOL) and anxiety in a sample of women receiving radiation or chemotherapy for breast cancer.</p><p><b>Design</b>: Longitudinal, descriptive.</p><p><b>Setting</b>: A cancer center in the southeastern United States.</p><p><b>Sample</b>: 48 women participated; 17 received radiation and 31 received chemotherapy.</p><p><b>Methods</b>: The Ferrans and Powers Quality of Life Index (QLI) and Speilberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were administered. The QLI was administered at the start of treatment and one year later. The STAI was administered at the start of treatment. The state portion of the STAI also was administered 4 weeks and 12 weeks after the start of treatment.</p><p><b>Main Research Variables</b>: QOL and anxiety.</p><p><b>Findings</b>: Total QOL improved significantly over time for the entire sample, as did scores on the health/functioning, psychological/spiritual, and family subscales of the QLI. No significant differences existed for total QOL or any subscales by treatment. Trait anxiety was significantly higher for women receiving chemotherapy, and state anxiety was significantly higher at all three measurement times for the women. State anxiety did not decrease significantly over the course of the treatment for either group. Trait anxiety and state anxiety at the start of treatment were significantly negatively correlated with total QLI score and the psychological/spiritual subscale. State anxiety at the start of treatment also was significantly negatively correlated with total QOL and the health/functioning and psychological/spiritual QLI subscales both at the start of treatment and one year later.</p><p><b>Conclusions</b>: QOL improves over time for women who have received radiation or chemotherapy. Women receiving chemotherapy have higher anxiety scores, and higher anxiety at the start of treatment is associated with decreased QOL at the start of treatment and postdiagnosis.</p><p><b>Implications for Nursing</b>: Nursing interventions to reduce anxiety at the start of treatment, especially for chemotherapy recipients, are indicated. Research also should target methods to reduce anxiety at the start of treatment.</p>

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