Quality of life (QOL) and functional status (FS) have become important outcome measures in cancer therapy. Valid and reliable instruments recently have been developed for examining QOL and FS in patients with head and neck (HN) cancer. The present study evaluated the relationships of QOL and FS to physical and psychological variables assumed to affect QOL and FS. Fifty patients were evaluated up to 6 years after HN cancer surgery using one general QOL instrument and three HN-specific instruments. Analysis of variance showed physical variables such as tumor site to be related to HN-specific scores, while psychosocial variables such as marital status were related to general QOL scores (P≤.05). Several relationships were seen between physical or psychosocial variables and FS or QOL measures; however the relationships were not as strong or direct as expected.