International Journal of Educational and Psychological Researches

: 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 96--99

Can the five-factor model adequately represent the quality-of-life in cancerous patients?

Mojtaba Habibi1, Pouya Zandian2, Haleh Hadi Pour3, Samaneh Abedini1,  
1 Department of Family Therapy, Family Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran
2 Institute for Cognitive Science Studies, Tehran, Iran
3 Department of Science and Research, Faculty of Psychology, Azad University, Saveh, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Mojtaba Habibi
Shahid Beheshti University, P.O. Box 1983963113, Tehran


Background: Mental health provides a significant achievement for cancerous patients to alleviate prolonged suffering albeit stress would be the main part of their diseases. Aims: We intend to study the influence of personality dimensions upon cancer patients�SQ� quality-of-life (QOL). Materials and Methods: Short form of NEO Personality Inventory and QOL questionnaire were applied in both descriptive and correlational analyzing. Moreover, the sample group was included 100 patient selected purposefully. Who refer to two medical center of Tehran from April 2012 to March 2013. Participants all fillequestionnaires out. The QOL questionnaire and the short format of NEO personality inventory were used. All of the data were analyzed with Pearson coefficient and multivariate regression analysis. Results: The results indicated that a significant relationship between neuroticism, agreeableness, and QOL was among the patients. Meantime, 23% of variances in quality of lives would be accounted with factors such as neuroticism, agreeableness, extroversion which could significantly predict changes in the patients�SQ� lives. Conclusion: Personality factors are an important variable for the QOL in cancer patients.

How to cite this article:
Habibi M, Zandian P, Pour HH, Abedini S. Can the five-factor model adequately represent the quality-of-life in cancerous patients?.Int J Educ Psychol Res 2015;1:96-99

How to cite this URL:
Habibi M, Zandian P, Pour HH, Abedini S. Can the five-factor model adequately represent the quality-of-life in cancerous patients?. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Oct 1 ];1:96-99
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Cancer is the main public health problem in Iran. Moreover, it is one of the main causes of death among both woman and man. [1] Since there has been a notable enhancement in the survival rates for many cancer types, an increasing interest for improving quality-of-life (QOL) of cancer patients has emerged. [2] Furthermore, development in QOL directly influences on immune systems which can speed up the cancer treatment process. [3] Hence, to tackle this challenge, we need first to identify the potentially factors associated with QOL. [4] Previous researches demonstrated some effective factors in QOL in oncology patients such as demographic characteristics, personality, temperament, marital status and course of diseases. [5] It has been shown that personality is associated with self-reported QOL in previous researches. [6]

Type of personality influence patient's adjustment in different aspects which are related to disease such as pain, fatigue, medical environment, medical procedures, and divers effects. [7] Personality effects coping strategies, [8] attitudes toward cancer, [9] hopefulness, [10] and well-being [11] which all play a pivotal role in QOL. Based on the five-factor model, personality is formed by five main factors, each of which has sub-categories, in a hierarchical manner: Neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. [12] Moreover, ample experimental evidences indicate that personality traits can be important to gratify or cure symptoms of psychiatric disorders. [13],[14] Besides, Diener, Oishi, and Lucas show that personality factors are essential elements for prediction and satisfaction with life. Meantime, other studies illustrate that neuroticism and conscientiousness are associated with physical health and healthy behaviors. [15] Indeed, various studies suggest that the cancer influences on personality disorders, which are far likely to facilitate the development of cancer. In fact, a person's QOL is affected by various emotional and cognitive factors. There is an increasing gap in both research and clinical communities for improving QOL for oncology cases in Iran society. Our research by considering personality as an effective predictor intends to illustrate that how different type of personality can change the level of QOL. [16] The results can provide a precious resource for the clinical psychologist who are dealing with cancer patients.

 Materials and Methods

Participants included patients diagnosed with cancer who were hospitalized in Tehran's Hospital. Permissions were accepted of the hospital manager and oncology ward. Eligible participants were screened based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. Patients who: (a) were ages 23-37 years, (b) had a first diagnosis of any type of cancer except tumor brain, (c) were undergoing treatment (d) had no preexisting major cognitive dysfunction and developmental disability, and (e) were at least 1-mouth post first diagnosis or relapse, (f) an average ability of Persian language, (g) no psychological treatment and psychiatric medications for 6 months before intervention. Patients who diagnosed with a terminal disease, defined as a prognosis of <6 months of life, were excluded.

Of a total of 120 cancerous who met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 20 declined to be interviewed. During the check-in at the hospital, patients who meet the inclusion criteria were interviewed by clinical psychologist by self-rate questioners. The sampling group was cancer patients all staying in Tehran's Hospitals from March 2012 to December 2013. Set-up of sampling method was purposeful and after giving informed consent, 100 participants (47 women, 53 men, M age = 35, age range: 23-57 years, 37 stomach cancer, 13 colon cancer, 37 breast cancer, 10 cervical cancer, 2 laryngeal cancer, and 1 leukemia cancer) filled the questionnaires out.

NEO five-factor inventory (the short form)

It consists of two forms: (1) Short form, for personal reports and (2) R form, observer's ratings. R form, indeed, starts with the third person using to score with others such as a spouse or mate. It contains 60 questions; participants should score on a 4-point scale ranging. Each question indicates one of the 5 big factors of Mc Crea and Casta model in which neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Each of factors is designed with 12 questions. The validity of the inventory, Cronbach's alpha coefficient, is between 0.68, for agreeableness, and 0.86, for neuroticism [14]. Likewise, Meradin and Nezelk suggest that Cronback's alpha coefficients for neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness are. 84.,74.,75, and. 83, respectively, and Cronback's alpha coefficients for the Iranian inventory are. 83.,75.,80.,79, and. 79, reported, so is the shorten form with consistency reliability., 68. [4]

Life quality test

Varoshebon draw up short form-36 (SF-36), which is for both clinical and research studies, and it would assess individual and national mental health. Meanwhile, the test does not depend on age nor socioeconomic classes. In addition, SF-36, providing scores on eight areas of functions, which are general health, physical performance, physical and emotional limited role-playing, physical pain, social performance, boredom or liveliness, and mental health, evaluates the QOL physically and mentally. Besides, the test has trustful validity and reliability (0.7-0.9) when it is assessed on general and abnormal persons.

Limited range of the test is from 0 to 100. The score in each subscale is determined with the score of heading in the area. Both individuals and trained interviewers can fill SF-36 out [2] .

Data analysis

Pearson coefficient and multivariate regression analysis with 95% accuracy were used for data analysis. Data analysis, Pearson coefficient, and multivariate regression with 95% accuracy, had been done by SPSS 18.


The mean and standard deviation (SD) of NEO and the QOL were 123.410 and 14.496, and 89.5 and 16.291, respectively [Table 1] and [Table 2] for mean and SD values for each of NEO and the QOL]. The result of regression, likewise, indicated that NEO subscales could be reliable predictors for QOL as a criterion variable (P > 0.001) and 23% of the variance of the QOL were justified by neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness variables [Table 3].{Table 1}{Table 2}{Table 3}

Moreover, results illustrated that significantly neuroticism (B- –0.984) was able to accuracy predict changes related to QOL in cancer patients, so were extroversion (B –0.596) and agreeableness (B –0.562).


The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between 5 type of personality and QOL in Iranian cancer patients. Based on the results from [Table 3], it is evident that the type of personality can predict 22% of QOL in Iranian cancer patients. We can see a similar outcome in previous studies which has examined QOL in Iranian cases with chronic illness. [17],[18] For justifying this result, we can say that personality might influence both responses to and outcomes of stress, [19] seeking social support [20] and applying coping strategies [21] which all are associated to well-being. [22]

Other remarkable results are significant relationships between both extroversion and neuroticism with QOL, which verified previous findings. [23] People who have a high level of neuroticism scale manifest more worries, anxiety, and uncertainties because they behave more emotionally and react too strongly to different kinds of stimulus which lead to psychological dysfunction and low level of QOL. [24] Some authors have reported that neuroticism also is associated with worse physical symptoms and, as a result, lower perceived QOL in patients with chronic diseases. Moreover, extraversion is believed to influence QOL because extrovert persons experience more positive emotions, which contribute to better subjective well-being. Extrovertly oriented people, have a tendency to be sociable, and there is highly probable that they will crave excitement and act impulsively. It has been observed that people with a high score in extraversion scale are less sensitive and self-centered to stress than introverted people. Hence, it might be hypothesized that extraversion influences the level of coping with chronic disease and can thus also influence the level of QOL. [25]

The aforementioned statistical analysis consent former studies, cancer patients' neuroticism are more than general participants', a reasonable predictor on therapeutic of the diseases since it is far likely to influence on the QOL. [26],[27],[28] Likewise, participants have abnormality of nervous excitation such as worry, insecurity, and cyclothymia, in an emotional instability state, which can be fear, sadness, etc. [29] Interestingly, some studies suggested that the top-mentioned disorders are due to chemotherapy and influences of the medicines on the brain. But hardly could cancer drugs penetrate through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) let alone effect on structures of some central nervous systems such as amygdala and hippocampus. [30] That is, cancerous patients' degeneration of hippocampus could be due to their high stress and low quality of lives especially for young men whose course and prognosis of their diseases feel completely helpless. [31] Helplessness, indeed, deteriorates hippocampus and improves amygdale performances more. [32],[33]

Besides, the significance of this lies in the fact that most of aforementioned neuroticism and cancerous ones are introversion while the significance relation between extroversion, which is based on both social gain and behaviors, intimacy, kindness, sympathy, and smooth tongue, and cancer patients' quality of lives. [28],[29]

In general, keeping high scores levels for extroversion means positive excitation, and good mental and physical general health. Besides, agreeableness, less among the patients, influences on adaptability and cancer treatment, but cannot predict the patients' QOL, [5],[28],[29] since patients whose agreeableness scores are high, are kind, loveable, well-tempered, sympathetic, etc., [13] and the consequence of low score of the subscale among cancerous patients could be lack of coping strategies thanks to unable to adapt environments. [33]

Besides, emotion experience (EE) is one of the main assumptions in outcome and reshoot of not only psychotic patients but also physical patients. [31] Hence, the more positive EE is, the better healing is and vice versa. [32],[33]

Finally, no considerable significant has been lied in openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness and quality of lives, nor had Nakaya and Amleng found between traits which are unreliable predictor for the patient's QOL, occurrences, and severity of cancers. Meanwhile, we suggest that other psychologists study other dimensions of the issue like as to whether or not the aforementioned psychiatric symptoms are due to influence of chemotherapy on the pineal gland, secreting melatonin. Because pineal gland does not have the BBB and melatonin deregulation effects on temperament directly. [34]


Participants were not replicated according to recurring cancer or type of cancer, first. The small sampling group also does not let us generalize our achievements. Next, some subjects do not participate well. Finally, biological studies on the issue could help us to know causes of results.


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