Quality of life (QOL) has many aspects, both in the short-term and in the long-term. Different aspects of QOL may have different types of precursors: demographic, medical, and psychosocial. We examined this possibility in a group of long-term breast cancer survivors. Early-stage breast cancer patients (N = 163) who had provided information about medical, demographic, and psychosocial variables during the year after surgery completed a multidimensional measure of QOL 5-13 years later. Initial chemotherapy and higher stage predicted greater financial problems and greater worry about appearance at follow-up. Being partnered at diagnosis predicted many psychosocial benefits at follow-up. Hispanic women reported greater distress and social avoidance at follow-up. Initial trait optimism predicted diverse aspects of better psychosocial QOL at follow-up, but not other aspects of QOL. Thus, different aspects of QOL at long-term follow-up had different antecedents. Overall, psychological outcomes were predicted by psychosocial variables, presence of a partner at diagnosis, and ethnicity. Financial outcomes, in contrast, were predicted by medical variables, which otherwise predicted little about long-term QOL. This divergence among aspects of QOL should receive closer attention in future work.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.