Evaluation of self-esteem of women with cancer receiving chemotherapy.

J. S. Carpenter, D. Y. Brockopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE: To examine the concept of self-esteem as it relates to female patients with cancer before diagnosis and while experiencing chemotherapy-induced alopecia. DESIGN: Descriptive-analytic. SETTING: Oncology unit of a community hospital and an outpatient oncology clinic in a southeastern city of the United States. SAMPLE: 30 women receiving chemotherapy and who have experienced some degree of alopecia. METHODS: Subjects answered demographic questions and were evaluated for degree of hair loss. Subjects completed the Cantril Self-Anchoring Scale (CSA) on the day of the interview and retrospectively prior to their diagnosis. In addition they completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE). MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Self-esteem, change over time, degree of alopecia, length of time since diagnosis. FINDINGS: A significant decrease in self-esteem from before cancer diagnosis levels to time of experiencing chemotherapy-induced alopecia; modest correlation between the CSA and the RSE. Four categories of characteristics (physical, spiritual, psychological, social) influencing self-esteem emerged from analysis of the CSA responses. CONCLUSIONS: Self-esteem was not stable in this group of women. Postdiagnosis levels were lower than those before the diagnosis; however, lower levels did not necessarily translate into low self-esteem. The CSA may be a more comprehensive and sensitive measure of self-esteem in patients with cancer because it is based on individual definitions of high and low self-esteem. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Understanding what specifically may lower an individual's self-esteem can be useful in identifying patient-specific interventions. Future research must explore ways to determine self-esteem consistently and easily.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-757
Number of pages7
JournalOncology nursing forum
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)

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