Relationship between psychological status and compliance in a sample of patients treated for cancer of the head and neck

Head Neck. May-Jun 1996;18(3):269-76. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0347(199605/06)18:3<269::AID-HED9>3.0.CO;2-Y.


Background: the psychological status of patients treated for advanced head and neck cancer is an area of patient care that has not received sufficient attention from caregivers and can be influential in terms of patient outcomes.

Methods: Thirty patients participated in this study designed to evaluate areas of psychological distress associated with treatment of advanced head and neck cancer. Patients completed a set of questionnaires related to various psychosocial variables including anxiety, depression, social support, health locus of control, adjustment to illness, illness-related behaviors, and compliance.

Results: Moderate levels of depression and anxiety, disability, and psychological distress characterize this sample of patients. Additionally, patient self-report of compliance reveals different variable combinations to be related to overall diet and medication compliance, and different levels of each compliance type were observed.

Conclusion: Head and neck cancer therapy presents a unique set of challenges for patients. Awareness of the impact of the illness and the psychological distress that are experienced should improve patient compliance and medical outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma / psychology
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Quality of Life
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires