Assessments used to measure participation in life activities in individuals with cancer: a scoping review

Allison J. L’Hotta, Taniya E. Varughese, Kathleen D. Lyons, Laura Simon, Allison A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: Individuals with cancer are at high risk for restricted participation in meaningful life activities such as work, school, and social activities. Evaluating participation in life activities is identified as a critical component of rehabilitation referral and triage systems. This scoping review investigates what assessments are used to measure participation in life activities in individuals with cancer. Methods: Six databases were systematically searched using keywords and controlled vocabulary through February 2020. Eligible studies used the term participation in the context of life situations and had an assessment with at least 5 participation-specific questions. Results: A total of 4604 unique articles were identified and screened for eligibility. Thirty-two studies were included; 20 unique assessments of participation were identified. Assessments were developed with the primary purpose of measuring participation (n = 8); global or physical function (n = 9); community integration (n = 1); social activity (n = 1); or occupational gaps (n = 1). Most assessments (12/20) were not developed with the purpose of measuring participation and only 4 assessments measured key components of participation other than frequency. Conclusion: Measuring participation in life activities is a developing area in oncology research. Most studies do not accurately or comprehensively measure this construct. The heterogeneity in assessments used indicates no clear consensus on a gold-standard participation measure for use among cancer survivors. Comprehensively measuring participation will help identify individuals in need of rehabilitation services and is an essential first step to inform the development of targeted interventions to enhance participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3581-3592
Number of pages12
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Cancer care
  • Measurement
  • Participation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Survivorship


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