Objective Significant numbers of cancer patients suffer distress, reduced quality of life and various other psychological problems. Evidence regarding psychological predictors of these outcomes is inconsistent. This study explored a range of predictors using an established psychological framework to identify the most important predictors of cancer adjustment, and when these are best assessed for optimal outcome prediction. Methods One hundred sixty newly diagnosed breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancer patients completed questionnaires after diagnosis and at 3- and 6-month follow-up. Measures included personality, illness cognitions, emotion, coping and outcome (anxiety, depression and quality of life). Results Between 47-74% of variance in psychosocial outcome was explained although large proportions were accounted for by clinical factors, demographics and earlier levels of anxiety, depression and quality of life. Of the psychological variables, cognitive appraisals featured more consistently then either emotions or coping. Conclusions There are clear and consistent predictors of negative psychosocial outcome that could be used in clinical practice to risk-assess and monitor patients for adjustment difficulties. The finding that appraisals were more predictive of outcome than emotions and coping may inform the development of psychological interventions for cancer patients.
- quality of Life