Predictors of Mood and Benefit Finding in Breast Cancer Patients Over 18 Months Post-diagnosis.
1National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Background: Diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can pose significant adjustment challenges but some patients can also experience positive changes, although it is yet unclear whether these confer adaptive psychological consequences. This study (i) identifies predictors of both positive and negative adjustment and (ii) tracks how benefit finding relates to adjustment across an 18 month time period. Method: Data was collected from 167 women at 4, 12 and 18 months post diagnosis. They completed standardized questionnaires assessing stress, coping, optimism, social support, emotional adjustment (depression, anxiety, positive and negative affect) and benefit finding. Findings: Hierarchical regression analyses, controlling for medical variables and previous adjustment showed that while stress appraisal explained a third of variance in concurrent emotional status it was only baseline coping and optimism that predicted mood over time( 5% ). A random effects SEM model showed that low distress and high optimism predicted benefit finding at various time points. Discussion: These results support a positive relationship between perceived benefit and positive well-being.