Confirming the Association Between Affective Disturbance and Perceived Cognitive Dysfunction Among Breast Cancer Patients: A Meta-analysis of Available Literature


Robin Garrett

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Kimberly Gorgens

Second Advisor

Ragnar Storaasli

Third Advisor

Marybeth Lehto


Breast cancer, Qualitative research, Assessment, Affective disturbance, Perceived cognitive dysfunction, Meta-analysis


Purpose: Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women worldwide. While undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, patients often report experiencing "chemobrain." Previous literature reports correlations between psychological distress and these perceived cognitive problems. The aim of the present study was to examine the strength of the association between affective disturbance and subjective cognitive dysfunction.Methods: This study included a meta-analysis of the literature reporting a correlation between mood and subjective cognitive dysfunction. Eight studies with 1344 breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy were selected based on stringent study inclusion criteria. Studies reporting a correlation coefficient between mood and subjective cognitive dysfunction were included.Results: In these data, there was no significant correlation between affective disturbance and subjective cognitive dysfunction. A random effects model yielded an overall weighted mean effect size of 0.12.Conclusion: Although this meta-analysis did not confirm the correlation between mood and subjective cognitive dysfunction, there was a clear association between these factors in the original disaggregated analyses, and they are clearly impactful from the time of diagnosis through long-term after care. The clinical implications of the present study and future directions for research are discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


30 pages

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