Using Q-methodology to understand perceived fatigue reported by adolescents with cancer

Jin Shei Lai*, Mary Jo Kupst, David Cella, Steven R. Brown, Amy Peterman, Stewart Goldman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Although fatigue is an unpleasant symptom commonly experienced by pediatric oncology patients, it also tends to be under-recognized and under-treated. A conceptual understanding of how patients perceive fatigue is beneficial for better identification and treatment planning. The purpose of this study was to understand how adolescents with cancer perceive their fatigue and to explore potential factors influencing their perceptions by using Q-methodology. The sample included 15 patients (ages 12-18 years) from the Chicago metropolitan area who were receiving cancer treatment. All participants completed a 37-statement Q-sort task. Data were analyzed by using PQMethod computer software. Results identified three descriptors of perceived fatigues reported by adolescents: energy and related capacity for physical functioning, psychosocial effects, and anemia-specific concerns. Appropriate referral for patients with the latter two descriptors of fatigue was recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-447
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Cancer related fatigue
  • Children with cancer
  • Q-methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Oncology


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