Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 15, Issue 11, pp 1223–1230 | Cite as

Change in quality of life in Chinese women with breast cancer: changes in psychological distress as a predictor

Supportive Care International



The effect of fluctuating psychological distress on quality of life (QoL) scores is not well delineated. We examined how changes in psychological distress affected change in QoL over time in 259 Chinese women recovering from breast cancer (BC).

Patients and methods

Women were interviewed during their first postoperative outpatient visit for chemotherapy (Baseline), at 3 months (FU1), and at 6 months after Baseline (FU2). Respondents completed the Chinese version of the FACT-G version-3 scale [FACT-G (Ch)]. Psychological distress was assessed using three categorical measures of depression, mood, and boredom. Linear mixed effects (LME) models examined whether changes in psychological distress predicted subsequent changes in QoL.


Respondents’ mood improved significantly over time from baseline to FU2 (Baseline/FU2: standardized β = −0.266, p < 0.005; FU1/FU2: standardized β = −0.243, p < 0.005). Changes in depression scores consistently predicted subsequent changes in overall (standardized β = 4.96; 95% CI, 3.749, 6.171, p < 0.001), physical (standardized β = 1.752; 95% CI, 1.209, 2.294, p < 0.001), and functional (standardized β = 0.872; 95% CI, 0.308, 1.436, p < 0.001) QoL scores.


The magnitude of change in psychological distress significantly impacted physical and functional, but not social QoL in Chinese BC patients. These data highlight the need to address psychological and physical distress as part of the drive to improve physical and functional QoL for women with BC.


Breast cancer Quality of life Psychological distress 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Behavioral Research Group, Department of Community Medicine & Unit for Behavioral Sciences, School of Public HealthThe University of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong
  2. 2.Centre for Psycho-Oncology Research & Training, Li Ka Shing Faculty of MedicineThe University of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong
  3. 3.Department of Community Medicine & Unit for Behavioral Sciences, Li Ka Shing Faculty of MedicineThe University of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong

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