Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1719–1728 | Cite as

Illness appraisal, religious coping, and psychological responses in men with advanced cancer

  • Kevin L. Rand
  • Larry D. Cripe
  • Patrick O. Monahan
  • Yan Tong
  • Karen Schmidt
  • Susan M. Rawl
Original Article



Patients experience diverse psychological responses to cancer. Appraisals and coping have been shown to predict psychological responses to stressors. For men with advanced cancer, appraisal of cancer’s impact on their lives (illness appraisal) and religious coping may be particularly important predictors of psychological responses. We examined the relationships among illness appraisal, religious coping, and positive and negative psychological responses while controlling for disease and patient characteristics.


Eighty-six men with advanced cancer completed measures, including constructed Meaning of Illness Scale, Brief Religious Coping Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale, and Posttraumatic Growth Inventory. Treating oncologists completed questions about disease status and estimated the chances of the patient surviving 6 months.


Psychological distress was predicted by prognosis (β = −0.20), illness appraisal (β = −0.48), and negative religious coping (β = 0.24). Negative mental adjustment was predicted by prognosis (β = −0.23) and illness appraisal (β = −0.57). Positive mental adjustment was predicted by illness appraisal (β = 0.46) and positive religious coping (β = 0.29). Posttraumatic growth was predicted by positive religious coping (β = 0.49).


Illness appraisal was more consistently associated with psychological responses to advanced cancer than patient or disease characteristics. Consequently, helping patients with their illness appraisals may be effective for improving patient psychological well-being.


Advanced cancer Oncology Appraisal Religious coping Psychological response Men 



This research was supported by a grant from the Paul Ogle Foundation (Jeffersonville, IN).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin L. Rand
    • 1
  • Larry D. Cripe
    • 2
  • Patrick O. Monahan
    • 2
  • Yan Tong
    • 2
  • Karen Schmidt
    • 2
  • Susan M. Rawl
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIndiana University-Purdue UniversityIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.School of MedicineIndiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.School of NursingIndiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA

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