The correlations of sexual activity, sleep problems, emotional distress, attachment styles with quality of life: comparison between gynaecological cancer survivors and noncancer women

J Clin Nurs. 2014 Apr;23(7-8):985-94. doi: 10.1111/jocn.12232. Epub 2013 May 8.

Abstract

Aims and objectives: To compare quality of life and its related factors, which include sexual activity, sleep problems, depression, anxiety and attachment styles in close relationships, between gynaecological cancer survivors and noncancer women.

Background: The majority of studies focus on examining the relationships between the late-treatment side effects and quality of life in gynaecological cancer survivors. As a result, there is insufficient information about what are the correlations between psychosocial factors and quality of life in gynaecological cancer survivors.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Methods: The quality of life of the 85 gynaecological cancer patients who had completed active treatments for at least six months was compared with the 85 age-matched women without cancer history. Measures included SF-12 Health Surveys, Medical Outcomes Study Sleep Scale, Beck Depression Inventory-II, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Sexual Activity Questionnaire and Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised.

Results: There were no significant differences in the quality of life between gynaecological cancer survivors and noncancer women. However, higher attachment-related anxiety in close relationship was the main factor associated with the lower physical quality of life in the gynaecological cancer survivor group. In contrast, older ages were correlated with lower physical quality of life in noncancer women. Anxiety level was the main factor associated with lower mental quality of life for both groups.

Conclusions: Different from noncancer women, the psychosocial factor of insecure attachment in close relationships was the main factor associated with physical quality of life for gynaecological cancer survivors. Anxiety status was the common factor correlated with mental quality of life for cancer and noncancer women.

Relevance to clinical practice: Developing psychosocial interventions focusing on secure attachment in close relationships and anxiety management could improve physical and mental components of quality of life among gynaecological cancer survivors.

Keywords: anxiety; gynaecological cancer survivors; insecure attachment; quality of life; sexual function; sleep problems.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sexuality*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Survivors