Purpose: We explored relationships between patient-provider communication quality (PPCQ) and three quality of life (QOL) domains among self-identified rural cancer survivors: social well-being, functional well-being, and physical well-being. We hypothesized that high PPCQ would be associated with greater social and functional well-being, but be less associated with physical well-being, due to different theoretical mechanisms. Methods: All data were derived from the 2017–2018 Illinois Rural Cancer Assessment (IRCA). To measure PPCQ and QOL domains, we respectively used a dichotomous measure from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey’s Experience Cancer care tool (high, low/medium) and continuous measures from the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G). Results: Our sample of 139 participants was largely female, non-Hispanic White, married, and economically advantaged. After adjusting for demographic and clinical variables, patients who reported high PPCQ exhibited greater social well-being (Std. β = 0.20, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.35, p = 0.02) and functional well-being (Std. β = 0.20, 95% CI: 0.05, 0.35, p = 0.03) than patients with low/medium PPCQ. No association was observed between PPCQ and physical well-being (Std. β = 0.06, 95% CI: − 2.51, 0.21, p = 0.41). Sensitivity analyses found similar, albeit attenuated, patterns. Conclusion: Our findings aligned with our hypotheses. Future researchers should explore potential mechanisms underlying these differential associations. Specifically, PPCQ may be associated with social and functional well-being through interpersonal mechanisms, but may not be as associated with physical well-being due to multiple contextual factor rural survivors disproportionately face (e.g., limited healthcare access, economic hardship) and stronger associations with clinical factors.
- Cancer survivorship
- Patient-provider communication
- Quality of life
ASJC Scopus subject areas