Objective: This study aimed to understand how hope and motivation of patients considering phase I trial participation are affected by psychological factors such as coping strategies and locus of control (LoC) and general well-being as measured by the quality of life (QoL). Methods: An exploratory cross-sectional study was performed in patients with incurable cancer (N = 135) referred to our phase I unit for the first time. Patients were potentially eligible for phase I trial participation and participated in our study while deliberating phase I trial participation. We used questionnaires on hope, motivation to participate, coping, LoC, and QoL. To investigate the nature and magnitude of the relationships between the scales, a structural equation modeling (SEM) was fitted to the data. Results: Hope significantly predicted the motivation to participate in phase I trials. Predictors of hope were a combination of flexible and tenacious goal pursuit (both P <.01), internal LoC (P <.01), and QoL (P <.01). The SEM showed an exact fit to the data, using a null hypothesis significance test: chi-square (8) = 9.30, P =.32. Conclusions: Patients considering phase I trial participation seem to use a pact of tenacious and flexible coping and control to stay hopeful. Furthermore, hope and QoL positively affected each other. The psychological pact may promote an adaptation enabling them to adjust to difficult circumstances by unconsciously ignoring information, called dissonance reduction. This mechanism may impair their ability to provide a valid informed consent. We suggest including a systematic exploration of patients' social context and values before proposing a phase I trial.

Additional Metadata
Keywords coping, hope, incurable cancer, motivation, oncology phase I trials, quality of life, SEM
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/pon.4487, hdl.handle.net/1765/111346
Journal Psycho-Oncology: journal of the psychological, social and behavioral dimensions of cancer
Citation
van der Biessen, A.J, van der Helm, P.G. (Peer G.), Klein, D. (Dennis), van der Burg, S. (Simone), Mathijssen, A.H.J, Lolkema, M.P, & de Jonge, M.J.A. (2018). Understanding how coping strategies and quality of life maintain hope in patients deliberating phase I trial participation. Psycho-Oncology: journal of the psychological, social and behavioral dimensions of cancer, 27(1), 163–170. doi:10.1002/pon.4487