OBJECTIVE The main aim of this prospective study was to examine the utility of Leventhal's common sense model in predicting longitudinal judgement-based outcomes in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC). The study is of potential importance as it focuses on the relations between personality factors, coping styles, informational needs, illness representations, and outcomes using a longitudinal study design. This has particular value as the trend in similar research is to focus on concurrent relations between variables. In addition, the prediction of numerous outcomes from illness perceptions has received relatively scant attention in the field of HNC. METHODS Fifty patients completed the following measures prior to treatment, 1 month and 6-8 months after treatment: IPQ-R, BMQ, Brief COPE, LOT-R, SCIP, EORTC QLQ-C30, SF-12, Patient Generated Index (PGI), and HADS. RESULTS Baseline illness and treatment beliefs were not predictive of HR-QoL, individualized QoL, or anxiety 6-8 months after treatment; however, beliefs about the chronicity of the disease (timeline beliefs) were predictive of depression after treatment. Coping strategies employed and levels of satisfaction with information before treatment were significant predictors of several outcomes. CONCLUSIONS Our findings suggest that a common sense model may be a useful framework for eliciting and understanding patients' beliefs regarding HNC; however, there are concerns regarding the use of a 'dynamic' model to predict longitudinal outcomes from baseline factors that may change over the course of an illness.