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Predictors of Quality of Life for Long-Term Cancer Survivors With Preexisting Disabling Conditions

Heather Becker
Sook Jung Kang
Alexa Stuifbergen
ONF 2012, 39(2), E122-E131 DOI: 10.1188/12.ONF.E122-E131

Purpose/Objectives: To explore whether measures of resources, barriers, and health-promoting behaviors would add significantly to the prediction of health-related quality of life among survivors with disabilities that occurred prior to their cancer diagnosis once contextual factors were controlled for.

Design: A descriptive correlational study.

Setting: Adult cancer survivors with preexisting disabling conditions who had completed active treatment were recruited from throughout the United States.

Sample: Most of the 145 respondents were breast cancer survivors with preexisting neuromuscular conditions such as polio and multiple sclerosis. The average time since cancer diagnosis was nine years.

Methods: Respondents completed a mailed survey.

Main Research Variables: Health-promoting behaviors, self-efficacy, barriers to health promotion, social support, functional limitations, cancer-related variables, depression, and quality of life.

Findings: The sample reported poorer physical well-being than other cancer survivors without preexisting disabling conditions. Health-promoting behaviors and psychosocial factors, such as depressive symptoms and self-efficacy, added significantly to the prediction of physical, social, emotional, and functional components of health-related quality of life after contextual factors entered the equations.

Conclusions: The findings underscore the importance of providing this population with the means to promote their health to the greatest extent possible, given the multiple threats to their health status.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses may be able to help survivors with preexisting disabling conditions reduce the negative influence of poorer health status and functional limitations on quality of life by providing interventions that reduce depression and build perceived ability to engage in health-promoting behaviors.

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