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J Clin Oncol. 2003 Feb 1;21(3):543-8.

Dispositional optimism predicts survival status 1 year after diagnosis in head and neck cancer patients.

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Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. paul.allison



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.


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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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