with head and neck cancer during different phases of treatment.
AC, Simonton S, Adams DC, Vural E, Hanna E.
Medicine, Arkansas Cancer Research Center, University of Arkansas for
Medical Sciences, 4301 West Markham, Slot 756, Little Rock, Arkansas,
USA. [email protected]
Little is known about how patients cope with head and neck
cancer despite its devastating impact on basic functioning. This study
examined coping patterns among patients at different phases of illness.
METHODS: Participants were 120 patients with advanced
disease, who were grouped according to the following phases of illness:
(1) pretreatment, (2) on treatment, (3) <6 months after treatment,
and (4) >6 months after treatment. Coping was assessed with the COPE
questionnaire, and outcome measures assessed general distress (Profile
of Mood States) and illness-specific distress (Impact of Events Scale).
RESULTS: Use of specific coping responses differed
among the groups. Denial (p <.05), behavioral disengagement (ie,
giving up or withdrawing, p <.05), suppression of competing activities
(ie, focusing exclusively on the illness, p <.01), and emotional
ventilation (p <.10) were most characteristic of patients who were
receiving or had recently completed treatment. There were no differences
in flexibility of coping or overall effort expended, but patients who
were on treatment or who had recently completed treatment used the greatest
number of strategies. Generally, denial, behavioral disengagement, and
emotional ventilation were associated with greater distress. CONCLUSIONS:
Results suggest that phase of illness may be important in shaping patients'
responses to life-threatening illness.
Neck 2000 Dec;22(8):787-93