Satisfaction with Ability and Reported Functional Impairment in Cancer Survivors with Chronic Illness-Related Fatigue
Pike, Jessica Dawn Eversen
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Long-term consequences of cancer have assumed more importance than ever before as cancer survival rates have increased over the past few decades. As a result, cancer has been conceptualized more recently as a chronic illness, meaning it can require some form of management. Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is the most frequent and distressing symptom that cancer survivors face. There is limited research on CRF to date, therefore, it is important to examine the influence of factors that affect cancer-related fatigue as CRF's impact on quality of life can be strongly negative, pervasive, and even chronic. In research on other chronic illnesses, both functional limitations and satisfaction with one's capabilities have been found to be related to chronic illness fatigue. This study was designed to investigate the relative and unique contribution of functional impairment and (a new construct among cancer survivors) satisfaction with abilities on CRF. Seventy-four study participants voluntarily completed a self-report questionnaire, many of whom later took part in a cancer fatigue self-management workshop. It was proposed that as functional impairment levels increased and satisfaction with ability levels decreased, reported CRF would increase. It was also hypothesized that while both functional impairment and satisfaction with ability would be associated with a significant degree of unique variance in cancer-related fatigue, satisfaction with abilities would actually have a greater independent impact on CRF. Correlations and multiple regressions demonstrated these propositions were correct with one exception. Although satisfaction with ability was shown to uniquely impact CRF, the sample average demonstrated a stronger influence from functional impairment. The practical importance of better understanding the impact of both limitations and perceptions of functioning is that with this information, self-management strategies and interventions for fatigue management can be more effectively developed and tailored to individual patients.