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28-04-2017 | Uitgave 9/2017

Quality of Life Research 9/2017

The association between fear of cancer recurrence and quality of life among Chinese cancer survivors: main effect hypothesis and buffering hypothesis

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 9/2017
Dalnim Cho, Qian Lu



The aim of the present study is to examine whether fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is related to health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among Chinese cancer survivors, an understudied population (i.e., main effect hypothesis). Also, we investigated whether the FCR–HRQOL link is moderated by two coping strategies, avoidance and positive reappraisal (i.e., buffering hypothesis).


This is a cross-sectional study conducted among 238 Chinese cancer survivors in Beijing. Participants completed a set of questionnaires including FCR, coping, and HRQOL.


FCR was related to lower physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-beings, even when demographics, cancer-related factors, and coping were taken into account. There was only one moderation effect between FCR and avoidance coping. Surprisingly, the detrimental effect of FCR on spiritual well-being was lessened among those with high avoidance coping such that the negative association between FCR and spiritual well-being was only found in those with low avoidance coping and not among those with high avoidance coping.


Findings largely supported the main effect hypothesis. FCR was associated with diverse domains of HRQOL among Chinese cancer survivors. The buffering hypothesis was largely not supported in this population. Rather, in some cases, the effects of FCR and coping strategies on HRQOL were independent. Thus, ways to attenuate the harmful effects of FCR on HRQOL among Chinese cancer survivors remain unresolved. It is urgent and timely that future studies focus on FCR and HRQOL in this population.

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