Cognitive Dysfunction and Its Relationship to Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors

Diane Von Ah

Kathleen M. Russell

Anna Maria Storniolo

Janet S. Carpenter

cognitive impairment, cognitive function, quality of life
ONF 2009, 36(3), 326-336. DOI: 10.1188/09.ONF.326-334

Purpose/Objectives: To examine relationships between capacity to direct attention and the quality-of-life (QOL) domains of psychological and physical well-being in breast cancer survivors.

Design: Descriptive, correlational.

Setting: National Cancer Institute-designated oncology and county hospital outpatient clinics in the midwestern region of the United States.

Sample: 134 breast cancer survivors aged 32-79 years (X = 56.3, SD = 9.4) with a mean of 6.4 years since diagnosis (SD = 2.8, range = 1-10).

Methods: Secondary analysis of questionnaire data measuring cognitive dysfunction and two QOL domains. Descriptive statistics, Pearson or Spearman correlations, and multiple regression analysis were used.

Main Research Variables: Capacity to direct attention, as well as psychological and physical well-being.

Findings: Deficits in capacity to direct attention were related to poorer QOL, including more depressive symptoms, lower well-being, poorer physical functioning, and greater fatigue.

Conclusions: Capacity to direct attention was related to psychological and physical well-being in breast cancer survivors.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses are in a prime position to assess breast cancer survivors' capacity to direct attention and resulting relationships with QOL. Findings suggest that nursing interventions that address survivors' capacity to direct attention may have a broad impact on QOL.

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