Purpose/Objectives: To evaluate gender differences in quality of life (QOL), demographic, clinical, and symptom characteristics.
Design: Prospective, observational.
Setting: Two radiation oncology departments in northern California.
Sample: 185 patients before initiation of radiation therapy (RT).
Methods: At their RT simulation visit, patients completed a demographic questionnaire, a measure of QOL, and symptom-specific scales. Backward elimination regression analyses were conducted to determine the significant predictors of QOL.
Main Research Variables: QOL, gender, and 20 potential predictors.
Findings: In women, depressive symptoms, functional status, age, and having children at home explained 64% of the variance in QOL. In men, depressive symptoms, state anxiety, number of comorbidities, being a member of a racial or ethnic minority, and age explained 70% of the variance in QOL.
Conclusions: Predictors of QOL differed by gender. Depressive symptom score was the greatest contributor to QOL in both genders.
Implications for Nursing: Nurses need to assess for QOL and depression at the initiation of RT. Knowledge of the different predictors of QOL may be useful in the design of gender-specific interventions to improve QOL.