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Perceived Difficulty Quitting Predicts Enrollment in a Smoking-Cessation Program for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Sonia A. Duffy
Angela L. Scheumann
Karen E. Fowler
Cynthia Darling-Fisher
Jeffrey E. Terrell
ONF 2010, 37(3), 349-356 DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.349-356

Purpose/Objectives: To determine the predictors of participation in a smoking-cessation program among patients with head and neck cancer.

Design: This cross-sectional study is a substudy of a larger, randomized trial of patients with head and neck cancer that determined the predictors of smokers' participation in a cessation intervention.

Setting: Otolaryngology clinics at three Veterans Affairs medical centers (Ann Arbor, MI, Gainesville, FL, and Dallas, TX), and the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Sample: 286 patients who had smoked within six months of the screening survey were eligible for a smoking-cessation intervention.

Methods: Descriptive statistics and bivariate and multivariate logistic regression were used to determine the independent predictors of smokers' participation in an intervention study.

Main Research Variables: Perceived difficulty quitting (as a construct of self-efficacy), health behaviors (i.e., smoking and problem drinking), clinical characteristics (i.e., depression and cancer site and stage), and demographic variables.

Findings: Forty-eight percent of those eligible participated. High perceived difficulty quitting was the only statistically significant predictor of participation, whereas problem drinking, lower depressive symptoms, and laryngeal cancer site approached significance.

Conclusions: Special outreach may be needed to reach patients with head and neck cancer who are overly confident in quitting, problem drinkers, and patients with laryngeal cancer.

Implications for Nursing: Oncology nurses are in an opportune position to assess patients' perceived difficulty quitting smoking and motivate them to enroll in cessation programs, ultimately improving quality of life, reducing risk of recurrence, and increasing survival for this population.

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