Social network, autonomy, and adherence correlates of future time perspective in patients with head and neck cancer
Baldensperger, L.; Wiedemann, A.U.; Wessel, L.; Keilholz, U.; Knoll, N.
Psycho-Oncology 27(6): 1545-1552
Socioemotional selectivity theory proposes that, with more limited future time perspective (FTP), the meaning of individual life goals shifts from instrumental and long-term goals, such as autonomy, to emotionally meaningful and short-term life goals, especially concerning meaningful social relationships. Adverse side effects of cancer therapy may conflict with the realization of emotionally meaningful goals leading to nonadherence. In line with the theoretical assumptions, this study aimed to investigate (a) associations among disease symptoms, physical and cognitive limitations, and FTP and (b) among FTP, family network size, striving for autonomy, and treatment adherence. One hundred fifty-seven patients (43-90 years; 75% male) with head and/or neck cancer of a German University Medical Centre completed a questionnaire measuring FTP, age, disease symptoms, physical and cognitive functioning, family network size, and treatment adherence. Autonomy was assessed with a card sort task. A structural equation model yielded an acceptable fit χ2 (28) = 44.41, P = .025, χ2 /df = 1.59, root mean square error of approximation = 0.06 (90% CI = 0.02, 0.09), Tucker-Lewis Index = 0.92, and Comparative Fit Index = 0.96. An increased level of disease symptoms and physical and cognitive limitations was related to a shorter subjective FTP. Furthermore, individuals with a limited FTP reported a smaller family network, a lowered quest for autonomy, and lower treatment adherence. Hypotheses derived from socioemotional selectivity theory were supported by the data. Longitudinal investigations should follow to corroborate findings and to focus on underlying mechanisms as improving patients FTP may play a crucial role in future disease management programs.