Illness perception clusters at diagnosis predict psychological distress among women with breast cancer at 6 months post-diagnosis.

Noleen McCorry, Martin Dempster, Joanne Quinn, Alex Hogg, Janet Newell, Margaret Moore, Sheelagh Kelly, Stephen Kirk

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study aimed to examine the extent to which illness perceptions and coping strategies among women diagnosed with breast cancer explain psychological distress at diagnosis and at 6?months post diagnosis relative to demographic and illness-related variables.

METHODS:

Women were recruited to the study shortly after diagnosis. A total of 90 women completed study materials (Illness Perception Questionnaire-Revised, the Cancer Coping Questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) at time 1. The same questionnaires were sent approximately 6?months later to those who had consented at time 1, and completed questionnaires were returned by 72 women.

RESULTS:

Cluster analysis was used to identify groups of respondents who reported a similar profile of illness perception scores. Regression analysis demonstrated that one of these clusters was more likely to experience psychological distress than the other both at diagnosis and at 6?months post diagnosis. Illness perception cluster membership and positive focus type coping were the most important and consistent predictors of lower psychological distress at diagnosis and at 6?months post diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS:

Illness perceptions remained relatively stable over the study period, and therefore we are unable to clarify whether changes in illness cognitions are associated with a corresponding change in psychological symptoms. Future research should evaluate the impact on psychological distress of interventions specifically designed to modify illness cognitions among women with breast cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692–698
JournalPsycho-oncology
Volume22
Issue number3
Early online date06 Dec 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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