A biopsychosocial perspective on adjustment and quality of life following brain tumor: A systematic evaluation of the literature

T. Ownsworth, A. Hawkes, S. Steginga, D. Walker, Ho Keung David Shum

Research output: Journal article publicationLiterature reviewAcademic researchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose.To systematically evaluate the literature on quality of life and adjustment to brain tumor from a biopsychosocial perspective. Methods.On the basis of the cancer and brain injury literature, a biopsychosocial organisational framework was initially developed to support an evaluative review of the brain tumor literature. This framework consisted of four themes relating to pre-illness characteristics, neuropathology, personal appraisals and reactions and social support. Electronic searches of Medline, PsycINFO and CINAHL databases identified 48 empirical studies 19802007 that investigated factors associated with quality of life or the adjustment of adults with brain tumor. A review of studies within each theme appraised these findings and evaluated the quality of methodology and extent to which biopsychosocial perspectives have guided investigations. Results.Overall, the review identified consistent associations between depression, performance status, fatigue and quality of life. Seven multivariate studies with strong methodology that adopted a biopsychosocial perspective were found. In general, the relationships among pre-illness and brain tumor characteristics, psychosocial variables and quality of life were unclear and various gaps in the literature emerged. Conclusions.Empirical findings within a biopsychosocial perspective may guide the development and delivery of support services for individuals with brain tumor; however, many important areas exist for future research. © 2009 Informa UK Ltd All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038-1055
Number of pages18
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjustment
  • Biopsychosocial perspective
  • Brain tumor
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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