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attentional fatigue, breast cancer survivor, sleep disturbance



  1. Crouch, Adele BSN, RN
  2. Von Ah, Diane PhD, RN, FAAN


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the incidence of attentional fatigue and the relationship between sleep disturbance and attentional fatigue in working long-term breast cancer survivors (BCS).


Methods: A descriptive, correlation design was used. The data for this study were drawn from a larger descriptive study designed to understand the impact of cognitive dysfunction on work-related outcomes. Breast cancer survivors completed questionnaires regarding sleep disturbance, attentional fatigue, and demographic and medical characteristics. Sleep disturbance, a subscale of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, is measured by asking 9 questions about sleep disturbances. Attentional fatigue was measured by the Attentional Function Index. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression were performed to assess the impact of sleep disturbance on attentional fatigue, controlling for covariates.


Results: Sixty-eight female BCS, ranging from 29 to 68 years old (mean [SD], 52.1 [8.6] years old) and, on average, 4.97 (SD, 3.36) years posttreatment, participated. Thirty-four percent of BCS had poor to moderate attention function. Sleep disturbance significantly predicted attentional fatigue (P < .05), explaining 16% of the variance, F4,57 = 2.68, P < .04, R2 = 0.16.


Conclusions: Clinicians can assess and intervene to decrease sleep disturbance, which may also improve attentional fatigue in BCS. However, sleep disturbance is only 1 contributing factor. Further investigation into factors contributing to attentional fatigue in BCS is warranted.