Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 10–20

Stress, Coping, and Circadian Disruption Among Women Awaiting Breast Cancer Surgery

Authors

  • Eric Dedert
    • Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDuke University Medical Center
  • Elizabeth Lush
    • Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesUniversity of Louisville
  • Anees Chagpar
    • Department of SurgeryYale University School of Medicine
  • Firdaus S. Dhabhar
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of Medicine
    • Institute for Immunity, Transplantation, and InfectionStanford University School of Medicine
  • Suzanne C. Segerstrom
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Kentucky
  • David Spiegel
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of Medicine
  • Ehab Dayyat
    • Department of PediatricsUniversity of Louisville
  • Meagan Daup
    • Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesUniversity of Louisville
  • Kelly McMasters
    • Division of Surgical Oncology, School of MedicineUniversity of Louisville
    • James Graham Brown Cancer Center
    • Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesUniversity of Louisville
    • James Graham Brown Cancer Center
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-012-9352-y

Cite this article as:
Dedert, E., Lush, E., Chagpar, A. et al. ann. behav. med. (2012) 44: 10. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9352-y

Abstract

Background

Psychological distress and coping related to a breast cancer diagnosis can profoundly affect psychological adjustment, possibly resulting in the disruption of circadian rest/activity and cortisol rhythms, which are prognostic for early mortality in metastatic colorectal and breast cancers, respectively.

Purpose

This study aims to explore the relationships of cancer-specific distress and avoidant coping with rest/activity and cortisol rhythm disruption in the period between diagnosis and breast cancer surgery.

Methods

Fifty-seven presurgical breast cancer patients provided daily self-reports of cancer-specific distress and avoidant coping as well as actigraphic and salivary cortisol data.

Results

Distress and avoidant coping were related to rest/activity rhythm disruption (daytime sedentariness, inconsistent rhythms). Patients with disrupted rest/activity cycles had flattened diurnal cortisol rhythms.

Conclusions

Maladaptive psychological responses to breast cancer diagnosis were associated with disruption of circadian rest/activity rhythms. Given that circadian cycles regulate tumor growth, we need greater understanding of possible psychosocial effects in cancer-related circadian disruption.

Keywords

Breast cancerCircadian rhythmActigraphyCortisolRest/activitySleep

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012