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Looming cognitive style and quality of life in a cancer cohort

  • Tomer T. Levin (a1), John Riskind (a2) and Yuelin Li (a1)



Looming cognitive styles (LCS) bias the velocity of potential threats and have been implicated in anxiety and depression vulnerability. This study aims to explore their contribution to impaired quality of life (QOL), beyond that of depression and anxiety, in a cancer cohort.


In a cross-sectional design, an ambulatory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cohort completed a psychological battery that included the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories, the SF-36 Health Survey, the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACT), the Looming Cognitive Style Questionnaire (LCSQ), and the Looming Cancer measure.


The Looming Cancer measure correlated significtly with overall QOL (FACT-G, p = 0.005). This effect was largely due to the contribution of emotional QOL (Mental Component Score: SF-36, p = 0.001; FACT-emotional, p = 0.001) and functional QOL (FACT-functional, p = 0.001). Looming, unlike anxiety and depression, did not correlate with a worse physical QOL (Physical Component Score: SF-36, FACT-physical). Looming did not impact on social QOL. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that looming predicted 5.4% of the varience on the FACT-emotional, 5.1% on the Mental Component Score (SF-36), and 9.3% on the mental health subscale (SF-36), above and beyond the varience predicted by a constellation of psychosocial factors (including age, marital status, education, income) and the combined effect of depression and anxiety

Significance of results:

LCS predicts worse emotional and functional QOL, above and beyond the contribution of anxiety, depression, and other psycho-social variables. This suggests that it makes a unique contribution to a worse QOL. Nevertheless, the looming construct still remains primarily a research tool in psycho-oncology at this time.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Tomer Levin, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 641 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10022. E-mail:


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Looming cognitive style and quality of life in a cancer cohort

  • Tomer T. Levin (a1), John Riskind (a2) and Yuelin Li (a1)


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