This article reviews literature on the psychosocial correlates of cancer relapse and survival from 1979 through 1995. The factors studied were structured according to a theoretical model of coping with cancer. Reviewed studies have shown that factors most frequently evaluated were depression, anxiety, hopelessness/helplessness, hostility, marital status and social involvement. Mainly inconsistent results were found. The strongest evidence for a relationship between psychosocial variables and prognosis was found for social involvement/social support; in 7 of 15 studies a positive relationship was demonstrated, while no negative associations were found. Coping styles e.g., fighting spirit and stoic acceptance, and severe/stressful life events were found to have no conclusive influence on the length of survival. Important determinants of the coping model, such as uncertainty and information given by the specialist were not studied as possible predictors of survival and/or relapse free period. Among the factors that showed no correlation at all was multidimensional health locus of control. For the inconsistent findings, a considerable number of methodologic shortcomings with respect to study design, sample size, measure and statistical analysis are enumerated.

Neoplasms, Psychosocial, Relapse, Survival,
Patient Education and Counseling
Department of Otorhinolaryngology

de Boer, M.F, Ryckman, R.M, Pruyn, J.F.A, & van den Borne, H.W. (1999). Psychosocial correlates of cancer relapse and survival: A literature review. Patient Education and Counseling (Vol. 37, pp. 215–230). doi:10.1016/S0738-3991(99)00029-4