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Appearance concerns and psychosocial adjustment following head and neck cancer: A cross-sectional study and nine-month follow-up

Clarke, Sally Ann; Newell, Robert; Thompson, Andrew; Harcourt, Diana; Lindenmeyer, Antje

Authors

Sally Ann Clarke

Robert Newell

Andrew Thompson

Antje Lindenmeyer



Abstract

Psychosocial difficulties have been reported in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients, yet only few studies have assessed the impact of altered appearance following HNC
treatment using theoretically selected measures of appearance-related distress. This study investigated appearance-related adjustment following HNC, and demographic and socio-cognitive predictors of adjustment. HNC patients (n = 49) completed baseline questionnaires and a nine-month postal follow-up (n = 20). Participants
showed considerable variation in appearance-related adjustment, with females reporting higher levels of appearance-related distress (derriford appearance scale
[DAS-24]) than females in the general population and male HNC survivors. Depression scores on the hospital anxiety and depression scale were higher than UK norms whilst anxiety was similar to UK norms. There were no significant differences between baseline and follow-up data. Fear of negative evaluation (a central feature of social anxiety) was a significant predictor of appearance-related adjustment at baseline, whilst dispositional optimism was a significant predictor of appearance-related adjustment at baseline and follow-up. Qualitative responses showed themes of appearance and disability, and coping strategies. Findings suggest that appearance-related adjustment post-HNC varies considerably and psychosocial services working with
HNC patients should consider this broad pattern of response. Future research to examine the role of socio-cognitive predictors of appearance-related adjustment could progress development of effective psychological interventions.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Journal Psychology, Health & Medicine
Print ISSN 1354-8506
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 5
Pages 505-518
APA6 Citation Clarke, S., Newell, R., Thompson, A., Harcourt, D., & Lindenmeyer, A. (2014). Appearance concerns and psychosocial adjustment following head and neck cancer: A cross-sectional study and nine-month follow-up. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 19(5), 505-518. https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2013.855319
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2013.855319
Keywords oncology, head and neck cancer, psychosocial adjustment, appearance, visible difference
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2013.855319
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