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Predictors of the Trajectories of Self-Reported Attentional Fatigue in Women With Breast Cancer Undergoing Radiation Therapy

  • Author(s): Merriman, John D.
  • Advisor(s): Miaskowski, Christine
  • et al.
Abstract

This study of breast cancer patients who underwent radiation therapy (RT) examined how attentional fatigue changed from the time of simulation to four months after the completion of RT and investigated whether specific variables predicted initial levels of attentional fatigue and characteristics of the trajectories of attentional fatigue. Seventy-three women completed a number of measures (i.e., Attentional Function Index, General Sleep Disturbance Scale, Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale, Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventories, Brief Pain Inventory) over six months. Descriptive statistics and hierarchical linear modeling were used for data analysis. Large amounts of inter-individual variability were found in the trajectories of attentional fatigue. At baseline, higher levels of attentional fatigue were associated with younger age, not working, a higher number of comorbidities, and higher levels of trait anxiety. The trajectory of attentional fatigue improved over time for women with a higher body mass index at baseline. This study is the first to identify predictors of inter-individual variability in attentional fatigue in women with breast cancer undergoing RT. The various predictors should be considered in the design of future correlational and interventional studies in this population.

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