Quality of Life Research

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 827–836 | Cite as

Self-efficacy, adjustment style and well-being in breast cancer patients: a longitudinal study

  • Nina Rottmann
  • Susanne O. Dalton
  • Jane Christensen
  • Kirsten Frederiksen
  • Christoffer Johansen



As many patients experience distress after breast cancer, we investigated whether perceived self-efficacy predicts breast cancer patients’ emotional, physical and social well-being and whether mental adjustment styles mediate this association.


A sample of 684 women with breast cancer completed a questionnaire including the general self-efficacy scale at baseline, the Mini-MAC at 1-month follow-up and the EORTC QLQ-C30 at 12-month follow-up. Multiple linear regression was used to assess associations between self-efficacy, mental adjustment style and well-being. Disease-related and sociodemographic factors were examined as confounders.


Greater self-efficacy at baseline was associated with emotional well-being after 12 months (β = 0.59; 95% CI, 0.35–0.82). Fighting spirit, anxious preoccupation and helplessness–hopelessness partly mediated the effect of self-efficacy, but self-efficacy also had a direct effect on emotional functioning (β = 0.26; 95% CI, 0.02–0.51). No association was found between self-efficacy and physical and social well-being. Significant associations were observed between self-efficacy and education and time since diagnosis and also between well-being and age, education, relapse and time since diagnosis.


Self-efficacy was a significant predictor of an active adjustment style and emotional well-being in breast cancer patients. Hence, it could be a valuable target of rehabilitation programs.


Breast neoplasms Self-efficacy Adaptation, Psychological Quality of life Denmark 



The study was funded by the Danish Cancer Society. The authors wish to acknowledge the excellent collaboration of the staff at the Dallund Rehabilitation Centre, Denmark.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina Rottmann
    • 1
  • Susanne O. Dalton
    • 1
  • Jane Christensen
    • 2
  • Kirsten Frederiksen
    • 2
  • Christoffer Johansen
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychosocial Cancer ResearchInstitute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer SocietyCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Statistics and EpidemiologyInstitute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer SocietyCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.National Centre for Cancer Rehabilitation Research, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

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