Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 39-54

First online:

The relationship of uncertainty, control, commitment, and threat of recurrence to coping strategies used by women diagnosed with breast cancer

  • B. Ann HiltonAffiliated withSchool of Nursing, University of British Columbia

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The purpose of this descriptive correlational study was to investigate the relationship between commitments, uncertainty about the cancer situation, threat of recurrence, and control of the cancer situation and the set of coping strategies used by women to cope with their breast cancer diagnosis. Lazarus and Folkman's theory of psychological stress provided the framework. The sample consisted of 227 nonhospitalized women who had had a diagnosis of breast cancer. Two sets of canonical variate sets were significant at the .001 level with canonical correlations of .52 and .47. The first canonical set indicated that the use of escape-avoidance and accepting responsibility but not positive reappraisal strategies were characteristics of those women who had low commitment and low control together with high uncertainty and high threat of recurrence. The second set indicated that seeking social support, as well as the use of planful problem solving, escape-avoidance, positive reappraisal, and self-controlling strategies was adopted by women who had high threat of recurrence and high control.

Key words

coping control uncertainty threat commitment cancer