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Physical and psychological correlates of fatigue in Australian cancer patients over time at Royal Perth Hospital: Psychosocial data in cancer patients' medical notes

Pirri, C., Katris, P., Trotter, J. and Bayliss, E. (2003) Physical and psychological correlates of fatigue in Australian cancer patients over time at Royal Perth Hospital: Psychosocial data in cancer patients' medical notes. In: 38th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society, 2-5 October 2003, Sheraton Hotel, Perth, Western Australia.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-9536.2003.tb01891...
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Abstract

Fatigue is highly prevalent amongst cancer patients. It is probably the most common unrelieved symptom of cancer, and can reduce physical, psychological and social functioning and cause distress in patients. A longitudinal study is currently in progress at RPH investigating patients’ quality of life (QOL) including fatigue and psychosocial morbidity. Standardised measures were administered to a consecutive series of 198 chemotherapy patients at: (a) pretreatment, (b) on-treatment (8 weeks), (c) post-treatment and (d) 6 months follow-up. The demographic profile of the cohort included 47% male, 53% female and mean age 56 years (SD = 13). Initial results showed that 20% of patients described fatigue as the single most important recent problem. Fatigue was elevated at on- and post-treatment compared to other times (p < .05), and more so in women than men (p < .01). Consistent correlates of fatigue across time were physically-orientated included physical functioning, muscle bulk and weight loss and patients’ perceived physical health (all p < .01; r = 0.4-0.6). Psychological correlates of fatigue were generally weak (r < 0.4) except for depression. Results suggest that physical variables are more important in explaining fatigue. Firmer conclusions about the relative contributions of physical and psychological variables will be made once more mature data becomes available for analyses. Some clinical options geared towards alleviating dysfunctional levels of fatigue amongst cancer patients will be discussed.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: Australian Psychological Society
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/20778
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