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Influence of pretreatment social support on health-related quality of life in head and neck cancer survivors: Results from a prospective study

Authors

  • M. Bryant Howren PhD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Iowa City VA Health Care System, 601 Highway 6 West, Iowa City, IA 52246
    2. Department of Psychology, The University of Iowa, 11 Seashore Hall East, Iowa City, IA 52241
    • The University of Iowa, Department of Psychology, 11 Seashore Hall East, Iowa City, IA 52242
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  • Alan J. Christensen PhD,

    1. Department of Psychology, The University of Iowa, 11 Seashore Hall East, Iowa City, IA 52241
    2. Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Iowa, 11 Seashore Hall East, Iowa City, IA 52241
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  • Lucy Hynds Karnell PhD,

    1. Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, The University of Iowa, 11 Seashore Hall East, Iowa City, IA 52241
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  • Julia R. Van Liew BA,

    1. Department of Psychology, The University of Iowa, 11 Seashore Hall East, Iowa City, IA 52241
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  • Gerry F. Funk MD

    1. Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, The University of Iowa, 11 Seashore Hall East, Iowa City, IA 52241
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  • A portion of the information contained in this article was presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in Washington, DC, April 27–30, 2011.

  • The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Abstract

Background

Head and neck cancer and its treatment can have considerable impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The present study investigated whether social support, assessed before treatment, predicted HRQOL outcomes up to 12 months later in head and neck cancer survivors.

Methods

Using a prospective longitudinal design, patients (n = 364) were assessed on several clinical and psychosocial characteristics at diagnosis and then at 3- and 12-month follow-up appointments. HRQOL was assessed with the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Head and Neck Cancer Inventory (HNCI).

Results

Hierarchical multiple regression analyses demonstrated that greater perceived support present at diagnosis significantly predicted more favorable global and head and neck cancer-specific HRQOL at 3- and 12-month follow-up.

Conclusion

Results suggest that adequate social support at diagnosis can have a significant, positive impact on HRQOL in head and neck cancer survivors. Thus, it may be useful to evaluate support resources at diagnosis in order to identify individuals at risk for poor HRQOL outcomes. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2012

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