Daily Diary Study of Hope, Stigma, and Functioning in Lung Cancer Patients

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Abstract

Objective: Given its lethality, associated stigma, and symptom burden, a lung cancer diagnosis poses a substantial challenge for patients. The goal of this study was to examine how daily hope, defined as goal-directed effort and planning to meet goals, and daily stigma were related to same- and next-day functioning in lung cancer patients receiving cancer treatment. Methods: Fifty lung cancer patients (39 non–small-cell stages IIIa–IV; 11 limited and extensive small cell) completed a baseline questionnaire and 21 daily diaries (n = 1,042) assessing hope, stigma, physical symptoms, treatment factors, and functioning. Hypotheses were tested in same- and next-day models with multilevel modeling. Results: Patients who reported more daily hope reported higher social and role functioning in same- and next-day models. On days that patients reported more hope than usual (compared with their own across-day average), they had higher social, role, and physical functioning; this effect did not carry into the next day. Treatment days were associated with lower social and role functioning when patients reported lower hope and associated with higher functioning when patients reported higher hope. Within-person hope was not predicted by disease symptoms. On days that patients reported more stigma than usual, they reported lower social and role functioning. Conclusions: Hope is associated with functioning in lung cancer patients, regardless of physical symptoms from disease and treatment. Hope and stigma may therefore be appropriate intervention targets to support daily social and role functioning during lung cancer treatment.

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