Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 371–379 | Cite as

A longitudinal investigation of coping strategies and quality of life among younger women with breast cancer

  • Suzanne C. Danhauer
  • Sybil L. Crawford
  • Deborah F. Farmer
  • Nancy E. Avis


It is generally assumed that coping strategies impact quality of life (QOL). It is plausible that QOL determines use of coping strategies. This research examines coping strategies over time and the reciprocal relationship between coping strategies and QOL among younger women with breast cancer. Women with breast cancer (N = 267; mean age = 43 years) completed surveys within 6 months of diagnosis and 6 weeks and 6 months later. Surveys included questions on coping strategies, QOL, medical factors, and sociodemographics. Positive cognitive restructuring was the most frequently used strategy. Over time, use of seeking social support, spirituality, and wishful thinking declined, while detachment increased. Prior QOL predicted three subsequent coping strategies (seeking social support, keeping feelings to self, wishful thinking). Coping strategies were minimally related to subsequent QOL. Coping strategies and QOL are dynamic processes. QOL may predict coping strategies equally or more than vice versa.


Coping Quality of life Breast cancer Psychosocial oncology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne C. Danhauer
    • 1
  • Sybil L. Crawford
    • 2
  • Deborah F. Farmer
    • 3
    • 4
  • Nancy E. Avis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine, Section on Hematology and OncologyWake Forest University, School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  2. 2.University of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of Social Sciences and Health PolicyWake Forest University, School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  4. 4.Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social WorkWinston-Salem State UniversityWinston-SalemUSA

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