Quality of life issues among women with physical disabilities or breast cancer

D. G. Tate*, B. B. Riley, R. Perna, S. Roller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess quality of life (QOL) and life satisfaction among women with physical disabilities or breast cancer, and to identify factors predictive of QOL and life satisfaction for women and men. QOL and life satisfaction differences were examined between women and men with physical disabilities and cancer, and between women with traumatic and chronic physical conditions. Design: A cross-sectional design employing several QOL and life satisfaction measures was used. Sample: Two hundred sixteen outpatient subjects (99 women, 117 men) with physical disabilities or cancer were studied. Instruments: The Health Status Questionnaire-Short-Form 36 (SF-36), Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT), Functional Living Index-Cancer (FLIC), and the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Results: Women with traumatic conditions (amputation, spinal cord injury) reported poorer physical functioning and well-being, whereas women in the chronic (postpolio, breast cancer) group reported poorer health status. No significant gender differences were found with respect to QOL or life satisfaction. Whereas functional and emotional well-being were the strongest predictors of overall QOL for both men and women, self-perceived general health significantly predicted QOL for women (p < .05) and social well-being significantly predicted QOL for men (p < .01). Among men, life satisfaction was best predicted by marital status (p < .05), general health (p < .05), and social well-being (p < .01). The resulting QOL models had adjusted R2 values of .77 and .76 for women and men, respectively. Among women with traumatic conditions, functional well-being best predicted QOL (p < .01). Life satisfaction for women with chronic conditions was best predicted by age, education, and spiritual well-being. Conclusion: QOL as measured by the impact of illness on an individual is best predicted by physical and functional well-being. Satisfaction with one's life was best predicted by functional ability. Although functional and physical ability were the best predictors for both QOL and life satisfaction, social functioning made significant and substantive contributions to these constructs. Spinal cord injury had the most impact on physical functioning, whereas prostate cancer had the least. Psychosocial functioning was most affected by amputation and least affected by prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S18-S25
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number12 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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