The health-related quality of life and bio-psycho-social adaptation effects in patients with head and neck cancer: A longitudinal study

Hui Ching Yang*, Li Fei Wang, Joseph Tung Chieh Chang, Fumin Fang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Because of the therapies and methods involved in its treatment, head and neck cancer patients often face unpredictable changes in both quality of life (QoL) and psychological status over the long course of their disease. Most studies have used fixed-term measurements that do not consider time variance and its effects. To facilitate medical communication and rehabilitation interventions, we investigated changes in HNC (head and neck cancer) patients' bio-psycho-social status and QoL over time. Purposes: This study examines QoL growth patterns and the bio-psycho-social adaptation effect in HNC patients as well as how various variables affect within-individual and between-individual level factors during the 4 stages of HNC. Methods: A total of 109 HNC patients participated in this study. Two hundred and fifty-seven valid questionnaires were gathered. Questionnaires were given to each patient at 4 times: initial disease diagnosis; during the therapy period; 3 months after therapy; and 6 months after therapy. Descriptive statistics and hierarchical linear models were used in data analysis. Results: The main results revealed that: (1) degree of mood disturbance decreased linearly as illness stage progressed. Age, gender, religion, and job impacted patients' initial status, while gender, cancer stage, and education degree were significant moderators of the rate at which a participant's adaptation effect grew; (2) patient QoL showed no significant difference over time. Age and job were significant impact factors affecting patients' initial status. Cancer stage, educational degree, and marital status had a significant moderating effect on the growth rate of participants' adaptation effect score. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: Our results indicate that participants in this study had a higher level of anxiety and depression than the average population and that their QoL was negatively influenced by the side effects of their therapy. Therefore, study findings recommend that timely psycho-social intervention and side-effect education should be reinforced to enhance patients' quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Nursing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct


  • Bio-psycho-social adaptation
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Hierarchical linear modeling (hlm)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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