Quality of Life Research

, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 1211–1220

The effects of response bias on self-reported quality of life among childhood cancer survivors

  • Tara E. O’Leary
  • Lisa Diller
  • Christopher J. Recklitis
Original Research

Abstract

Background

Several studies of long-term adjustment in childhood cancer survivors (CCS) report very positive outcomes, while other studies find significant adjustment problems. These inconsistencies have prompted some investigators to suggest survivors may be biased responders, prone to underreporting on self-report measures. This study tested the hypothesis that CCS are elevated on self-deception response bias (SDRB), and that SDRB is associated with higher ratings of quality-of-life (QOL).

Methods

One hundred and seven adult (mean age = 31.85) survivors of childhood cancers completed a demographic questionnaire, Short Form-12 (SF-12), Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G), and Self-Deception Enhancement scale (SDE), an SDRB measure.

Results

Survivors’ QOL scores were similar to normative groups, but they evidenced much higher levels of response bias. SDE scores were significantly correlated with the FACT-G, and SF-12 Mental Health (but not Physical Health) scores even after accounting for demographic and treatment-related variables.

Conclusions

CCS show a biased response style, indicating a systematic tendency to deny difficulties on QOL measures. This may complicate QOL studies by inflating survivors’ reports of their socio-emotional functioning. Understanding how response bias develops may help us learn more about cancer survivors’ adaptation to illness, and the effects of the illness experience on their perceptions of QOL.

Keywords

Cancer Denial Response bias Pediatrics Survivors Quality-of-life 

Abbreviations

BIDR-6

Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding-Version 6

CCS

Childhood cancer survivors

CCSS

Childhood Cancer Survivor Study

CNS

Central nervous system

FACT-G

Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General

HRQOL

Health related quality of life

MCS

Mental component summary

PCS

Physical component summary

QOL

Quality-of-life

SD

Standard deviation

SDE

Self-deception enhancement

SDRB

Self-deception response bias

SF-12

Short Form-12

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tara E. O’Leary
    • 1
  • Lisa Diller
    • 2
  • Christopher J. Recklitis
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Suffolk UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Perini Family Survivors’ CenterDana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA

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