Exploring the Relationship between Diarrhea and Fatigue that can occur during Cancer Treatment: Using Structural Equation Modeling

Velda J. Gonzalez, Jason Beckstead, Maureen Groer, Susan McMillan, Desiree Ortiz, Sara Marrero, Leorey N. Saligan


Objective: To examine the relationship of the symptoms of diarrhea and fatigue by testing a model that included multiple dimensions of the cancer related-symptom experience. Methods: A secondary data analysis was conducted on data from the self-reports of 102 cancer patients co experiencing diarrhea and fatigue during treatment at a comprehensive cancer center in the Southeastern United States. Structural equational modeling was employed to examine the relationship between the 2variables. Fatigue and diarrhea were assessed using items from the Cancer Symptom Scale. Results: The structural model results showed that (a) the model fit was adequate (b) diarrhea explained 7% of the variance in fatigue, and (c) the structural or path coefficient between diarrhea and fatigue was significant (0.267; p<0.05). Diarrhea had the strongest effect on fatigue interference (0.251). Conclusion: Diarrhea is a potential contributing factor to the symptom of fatigue and a potential target for interventions to prevent and ameliorate fatigue.


Diarrhea; Fatigue; structural equation modeling

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