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Qual Life Res. 2003 Feb;12(1):41-51.

The mediating role of optimism on post-radiation quality of life in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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Unit for Behavioral Sciences, Department of Community Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is prevalent in southern China. In non-welfare countries, eating difficulties after radiotherapy may hinder NPC patients' short-term quality of life (QoL) especially regarding work and finance. This study explored the positive mediating role of optimism on the relationship between eating ability and QoL of Chinese NPC patients who received radiotherapy in Hong Kong. A sample of 211 newly referred patients were recruited and followed-up face-to-face or by telephone at four (post-radiation 1) (FU 1) and eight (post-radiation 2) (FU 2) months from baseline. QoL was measured by the FACT-G (Chinese). Optimism and eating ability were measured by two 11-point self-rated items. Mediating effects were tested with a series of multiple regression models. After adjustment for pre-radiation QoL, socioeconomic status and cancer stage, optimism significantly mediated the relationship between eating ability at FU 1 and overall QoL at FU 2, in particular physical and social/family well-being. This study is the first to underpin the mediating role of optimism on QoL of NPC patients. Faced with aversive side-effects of radiotherapy, facilitating positive thinking in Chinese NPC patients may accelerate their short-term post-radiation adjustment.

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