The Effects Of Patient Attitudes On Patient Outcomes Nursing Essay

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Research published in the March edition of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (JTO) explored the importance of a patient's outlook as it relates to health behavior and health status. Researchers focused on lung cancer patients and discovered that those who exhibited an optimistic disposition experienced more favorable outcomes than those with a pessimistic disposition.

Previous research into how the body communicates with the mind has demonstrated a connection between pessimistic outlook and negative health behaviours. The examination of a possible relationship between patient outlooks and survivorship in oncology populations is a relatively new and provocative area of investigation, and such studies have yielded mixed results. Some suggest that having a pessimistic personality before receiving a cancer diagnosis might be predictive of survival time and immune function; whereas, others have not found such an association. This newly released study builds on the existing research to gain knowledge specifically toward the effect of attitudes on lung cancer patients.

Utilizing the Optimism - Pessimism scale (PSM) of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the study investigators identified pessimistic and non-pessimistic or optimistic personality styles among patients. Researchers performed a retrospective evaluation of 534 adults diagnosed with lung cancer who had completed a MMPI about 18 years before receiving their lung cancer diagnosis between 1997 and 2006. Patients (both women and men) classified as having an optimistic attitude survived an average of six months longer compared with the patients with a pessimistic attitude. Five-year survival rates for the two groups were 32.9 percent for non-pessimists and 21.1 percent for pessimists. Furthermore, the relationship was independent of smoking status, cancer stage, treatment, comorbidities, age and gender.

Median survival:

Overall 14.8 months

Non-pessimistic 19.2 months

Pessimistic 13.1 months

Five-year survival:

Overall 27.8%

Non-pessimistic 32.9%

Pessimistic 21.1%

"This six-month potential benefit related to an optimistic attitude is more impressive when one considers that the median survival time for this patient population with lung cancer is less than one year," explains the study's lead investigator Paul Novotny, MS of the Mayo Clinic. "Despite limitations, the results may provide insights for advancing patient care in cognitive therapy, one of the many treatment dimensions. This may ultimately aid in enhancing current approaches to patient care, such that clinicians may improve survival not only by developing new medical treatments but also by targeting patient's psychosocial characteristics most likely to negatively affect cancer treatment decisions and ultimate outcomes."


Megan Richter

International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

A summary of the Research

This research shows that lung cancer's patients' attitude and their outcomes. It is true that patients' personal attitude is indirectly connected to their health because patient can build up their self-esteem against lung cancer. This research also illustrates that in the past, a patient created positive attitude for cancer and patient succeed to control its effect. So we can say that patient's attitude and their result have an invisible relationship and it defiantly works. The same patient who discussed in last paragraph, he developed an energy personality before his lung cancer's treatment and he got a pleasant result. However, other patients had very negative personality for their disease. They also felt that we lost our life and every treatment is worthless for them. As result, they didn't get an effective result.

Research shows that PSM (Pessimism scale) of MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) researchers find out a one result and it indicates that positive or negative attitudes depends on each patience. It means some of them have very high positive thinking about their life and their disease however other patients who have dissentient attitudes, they really got worse outcomes about their treatment. Researchers of MMPI also find a one interesting research that this positive or negative attitude also depends on patients' age, cancer stage, treatment and their gender. The fingers also show that younger patients have fighting spirit than older patients in the research. Paul Novotny who is the MS of the Mayo Clinic, he says that if patient has negative attitudes about lung cancer but treatment may change their attitudes. He also says that we are not developing new medical treatments but we are also working on psychological treatments. He believes that both treatments really work and their outcomes show-it is working.

After this research, it clearly shows that patients' positive or negative attitudes effect on their outcomes. I would like to give some advice for patients who is suffering for cancer, cancer is one kind of disease and it does not mean that cancer means cancel. You can live healthy with cancer if you have amazing positive attitudes and happiness and last thing nothing is impossible. In the world, many cancer patients beat this disease in a few years. If you watch this video who has cancer, than you may change your attitudes about your health.

I have a very personal experience about cancer's patient. My close friend's father had lung cancer. He was loving person. He loved his family and his life and one more thing is, he had a great positive attitude about his life and disease. He lived healthy more than ten years with lung cancer. I did not forget his sentence about life. He told me if you wish something will happen in your life, you have to concentrate your all strength to get those things. God may open all possible ways only for you. Just go ahead and do hard! The great thoughts and I believe that he lived with cancer without any tremendous pain because he had a great positive attitude.