A psychometric analysis of quality of life tools in lung cancer patients who smoke

Kristine K. Browning, Amy K. Ferketich, Gregory A. Otterson, Nancy R. Reynolds, Mary Ellen Wewers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States. Patient quality of life (QOL) prior to cancer treatment is known to be a strong predictor of survival and toleration of treatment toxicities. A lung cancer patient's self-assessment of QOL is highly valued among clinicians as it guides treatment-related decisions and impacts clinical outcomes. Smokers are known to report a lower QOL. Limited research has been conducted on QOL outcomes in lung cancer patients who continue to smoke. To assess QOL, a reliable and valid QOL measure specific to lung cancer is required. The functional assessment of cancer therapy-lung cancer (FACT-L) and lung cancer symptom scale (LCSS) are instruments that specifically examine QOL among lung cancer patients. The LCSS is a focused QOL instrument that includes physical and functional domains of QOL and disease symptomatology. The FACT-L is a broader QOL instrument that includes physical, functional, social and emotional domains and disease symptomatology. Both are psychometrically valid and are widely used in the literature, but have not been exclusively evaluated in smokers. Furthermore, there is no 'gold standard' instrument since there has never been a correlation study to compare estimates of reliability and validity between these instruments. The purpose of this study is to report the internal consistency and convergence validity of the FACT-L and the LCSS among newly diagnosed lung cancer patients who smoke. This data were collected and analyzed from a larger study examining smoking behavior among newly diagnosed lung cancer patients (n = 51). Descriptive statistics were calculated on the FACT-L and LCSS scores, internal consistency was assessed by estimating Cronbach's alpha coefficients, and Pearson correlation coefficients were estimated between the two scales. Internal consistency coefficients demonstrated good reliability for both scales, and the two instruments demonstrated a strong correlation, suggesting good convergence validity. Either of these instruments are appropriate measures for QOL in lung cancer patients who smoke. Given the conceptual difference between the two instruments, it is important to carefully consider the research aims when selecting the appropriate QOL measurement instrument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-139
Number of pages6
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Lung cancer
  • Psychometric analysis
  • Quality of life
  • Questionnaire
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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