Examining the relationship between inner strength and symptom burden in older women with lymphoma
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Adults age 65 and older are the fastest growing population in the United States diagnosed with cancer; however, due to age and gender disparities older women are largely ignored in clinical trials. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between inner strength and symptom burden in older women with lymphoma. The secondary objective was to examine how age and time since diagnosis correlate with inner strength, symptom burden, and quality of life. Eighty women were recruited from an inpatient oncology unit at a large comprehensive cancer hospital. Statistical analysis revealed that women who scored high in inner strength experienced significantly less symptom burden. Older age was also a significant predictor of quality of life. The older the woman, the greater her inner strength, and the lower her symptom burden. The inner strength scales of engagement and movement were the strongest elements in reducing symptom burden. This study contributes to the body of nursing research relevant to older women and affirms the theory of inner strength. Measurable nursing interventions are needed to support the lives of older women with and without cancer.