Psychological distress and well-being in advanced cancer: The effects of optimism and coping

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Abstract

This study examined the relations among optimism, coping, functional status, and psychological adjustment in 75 adults diagnosed with cancer. Both the positive and the negative aspects of psychological adjustment were assessed. All participants had been diagnosed with advanced stages of cancer (i.e., Stages II, III, and IV). Participants completed three assessments across a 4-month time period. Both optimism and coping were associated with psychological adjustment, even after controlling for functional status and prior adjustment. Additionally, optimism and coping were differentially related to distress and well-being. Optimism was strongly and positively associated with well-being and inversely related to distress. Escape-Avoidance coping was positively associated with distress and Accepting Responsibility coping was negatively associated with well-being. Comparisons between the current and prior studies indicated that individuals who are diagnosed with more advanced stages of cancer or who have survived bone marrow transplantation exhibit higher levels of optimism than do healthy individuals and individuals with early-stage disease.