Personality Traits and Health-Related Quality of Life Among Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Patients: The Role of Psychological Distress

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol. 2017 Jun;6(2):358-362. doi: 10.1089/jayao.2016.0083. Epub 2017 Jan 10.


Personality may affect the way adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer report health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Patients aged 15-39 years (n = 165) completed a survey at 12-16 months postdiagnosis. The survey included questions on HRQoL (SF-36), distress Brief Symptom Inventory-18, and personality (NEO-Five-Factor Inventory). Personality traits were not associated with physical HRQoL. The personality trait neuroticism was negatively associated with mental HRQoL (β = -0.37; p < 0.001) and positively with psychological distress (β = 0.47; p < 0.001). Hierarchical regression and mediation analyses indicated that psychological distress fully mediated the association between neuroticism and mental HRQoL. Findings emphasize the importance of psychosocial intervention for distress in AYAs with cancer.

Keywords: health-related quality of life; neuroticism; personality; psychological distress; survivorship.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Personality*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Young Adult