Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that, independent of other known prognostic factors, pessimistic head and neck (H&N) cancer patients have a greater risk of being dead 1 year after diagnosis than do optimistic patients.
Patients and methods: A prospective observational study design was used with a cohort of H&N cancer patients diagnosed during the period from March 1, 1997, to August 31, 1998, at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Clermont-Ferrand, France. Dispositional optimism (DO) was evaluated at baseline using a French version of the Life Orientation Test translated and validated for this study. One-year survival status was collected on all subjects. The analysis of the hypothesized association between DO and 1-year survival was performed using multiple logistic regression analysis, controlling for other sociodemographic and clinical variables.
Results: The sample size was 101 patients, representing all but one of those patients fitting the inclusion criteria who were diagnosed during the recruitment period. Of these, 51 were alive at 1 year after diagnosis, 45 were dead, and five were lost to follow-up. The multivariate analysis was performed on the data from the 96 subjects in whom 1-year survival status was known. Controlling for known predictors of H&N cancer survival, pessimistic subjects (odds ratio [OR], 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 1.24) and those living alone (OR, 4.14; 95% CI, 1.21 to 14.17) were more likely than optimistic subjects and those living with others to be dead at 1 year.
Conclusion: The results of this study of a cohort of French H&N cancer patients indicate that dispositional optimism predicts 1-year survival independent of other sociodemographic and clinical variables.