Causal attributions for fatigue by older adults with advanced cancer
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management,
Siegel K et al. – Patients' causal attributions for fatigue had a profound effect on their physical and psychological well–being, their communication with providers, and their integration of the symptom into their lives.Methods
- Authors conducted qualitative in–depth interviews with 35 patients aged 55 years or older on their experiences with fatigue.
- Patients had a variety of cancers and were at stages IV or late III of the disease.
- Interviews were thematically coded and analyzed.
- Two main themes emerged: 1) Cancer–related treatment was the master and often the sole attribution patients made for their fatigue.
- Patients making this attribution expressed certainty about its accuracy and seemed less distressed about the symptom.
- 2) Multiple causes of fatigue, typically a combination of cancer, treatment, and nonthreatening causes (e.g., older age, overexertion, or anemia), also were offered by some.
- Patients seemed to resist identifying disease severity as a cause and appeared motivated to normalize and minimize the symptom, thus decreasing its threatening impact.