Purpose/Objectives: To assess differences in ways women with breast cancer evaluate their own quality of life (QOL) compared to perceptions of their partners and to identify factors that influence dissimilarities in QOL perceptions.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Breast unit in southern Brazil.
Sample: 73 women with stage I-III breast cancer and their partners. Most participants were middle-aged, with partners of long-term cohabitation.
Methods: QOL was evaluated with the World Health Organization Quality of Life-Brief Form (WHOQOL-BREF), Beck Depression Inventory, and WHOQOL-BREF adapted for a third person.
Main Research Variables: Demographic and clinical features, QOL, partners' perceptions, and depression.
Findings: No differences were found between the perceptions of QOL in different domains between the patients and their partners. Depression in women seemed to be the only variable that interfered in a consistent manner with the congruity of the QOL assessments made by patients and their partners.
Conclusions: Partners of women with breast cancer may be viewed as reliable surrogates to assess patients' QOL.
Implications for Nursing: Partners' judgments of patients' QOL may be important in some circumstances, particularly when patients are not able to answer questions about their own QOL because of cognitive or functional limitations. Nurses must be aware that partners are the most frequent informal caregivers and should be included in the entire treatment process.