Associations between Quality of Life and Marital Status in Cancer Patients and Survivors


Background: The cancer survival rate in Korea has substantially increased, necessitating the management of not only patients with cancer but also longer term survivors. Although the divorce rate has drastically increased in Korea, there is not sufficient research regarding the relationship between changes in marital status and quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients and survivors. Thus, we aimed to examine the relationship between marital status and QOL in such cases. Materials and
Methods: This study was performed using the Community HealthSurvey of 2008 administered by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (N=169,328). We used t-tests and Chi-square tests to compare demographic variables between men and women, and analysis of variance(ANOVA) to compare QOL scores among comparison groups. We also performed a multilevel analysis on the relationship between QOL and marital status while accounting for provincial differences.
Results: Decline of EuroQOL five dimensions (EQ-5D) in single patients with cancer was greater than in any other marital status group, but there was no statistically significant decline in survivors of cancer with regard to marital status. In the general population, the decline of EQ-5D was higher among single people than married people. Using the EuroQOL visual analog scale (EQ-VAS), single people had higher values than those of other marital status among both patients with cancer and survivors of cancer. In the general population, EQ-VAS values were higher for single people compared to married people.
Conclusions: There may be a significant relationship betweenmarital status and QOL in cancer patients and survivors. Policy interventions to manage patients with cancer who experience a decline in QOL as well as marital problems should be conducted.