Empowerment in adolescents and young adults with cancer

Suzanne Radboud.jpg

Empowerment in adolescents and young adults with cancer: Relationship with health-related quality of life

Author: Suzanne Kaal, Medical Oncology

BACKGROUND:
The difficulties adolescents and young adults (AYAs) encounter during a cancer experience may result in a reduction in or absence of empowerment. The aims of the current study were to assess levels of empowerment and associated (demographic, clinical, or psychological) factors and examine the association between empowerment and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among AYA patients with cancer.

METHODS:
Patients aged 18 to 35 years at time of cancer diagnosis and who were seen by 1 of the members of the specialized multidisciplinary AYA team of the Radboud University Medical Center were invited to complete questionnaires regarding empowerment; HRQOL; and sociodemographic, clinical, and psychological characteristics (autonomy, coping, unmet social support needs, and psychological distress).

RESULTS:
A total of 83 AYA patients completed the questionnaires. The mean age of the participants at the time of diagnosis was 27.5 years. The vast majority had been treated with chemotherapy (86%), had a more advanced stage of disease, and had completed treatment at the time of participation (74%). The mean empowerment level was 154.1 (standard deviation, 17.8) with a range of 114 to 200. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the autonomy subscales of self-awareness (β = .35), capacity for managing new situations (β = .19), and social support (β = .35) were found to be positively associated with empowerment. Coping difficulties (β = -.19) were found to be negatively associated with empowerment. Empowerment was independently associated with physical (β = .31), psychological (β = .50), social (β = .39), religious (β = .33), and total HRQOL (β = .52; all P<.01).

CONCLUSIONS:
Low levels of empowerment were associated with low levels of autonomy and social support, female sex, and coping difficulties among AYA patients with cancer. Recognizing these patients as candidates for empowerment interventions ultimately could help to improve HRQOL in late adolescence and young adulthood.

Publication
Empowerment in adolescents and young adults with cancer: Relationship with health-related quality of life. Kaal SEJ, Husson O, van Duivenboden S, Jansen R, Manten-Horst E, Servaes P, Prins JB, van den Berg SW, van der Graaf WTA. Cancer. 2017.


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