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Gender Differences in Predictors of Quality of Life at the Initiation of Radiation Therapy

Claudia West
Steven M. Paul
Laura Dunn
Anand Dhruva
John Merriman
Christine Miaskowski
ONF 2015, 42(5), 507-516 DOI: 10.1188/15.ONF.507-516

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.

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