Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 561–571 | Cite as

The Psychosocial Impact of Cancer and Lupus: A Cross Validation Study That Extends the Generality of “Benefit-Finding” in Patients with Chronic Disease

  • Roger C. Katz
  • Lydia Flasher
  • Holly Cacciapaglia
  • Sonja Nelson


Mohr et al. (1999) described the psychosocial effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) from the patient's perspective. Three factors emerged: demoralization, benefit-finding, and deteriorated relationships. The benefit-finding factor suggested that some patients with MS benefited from their illness. We investigated the generalizability of these results by replicating the Mohr et al. study using patients with two diseases, cancer (N = 56) and lupus (N = 31). All participants completed the questionnaire developed by Mohr et al. along with the Profile of Mood States. When the data were analyzed, results showed a three-factor solution very similar to the one reported by Mohr et al. Scores on the demoralization factor were positively related to total mood disturbance and average pain ratings and inversely related to benefit-finding. Conversely, patients who perceived more benefits from their illness suffered less. We conclude that benefit-finding is not unique to patients with MS but occurs in patients with other chronic diseases.

benefit-finding cancer lupus psychosocial impact multiple sclerosis chronic disease 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Affleck, G., Tennen, H., Croog, S., and Levine, S. (1987). Causal attributions, perceived benefits, and morbidity after a heart attack: An 8-year study. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 55: 29–35.Google Scholar
  2. Afflect, G., and Tennen, H. (1996). Construing benefits from adversity: Adaptational significance and dispositional underpinnings. J. Person. 64: 899–921.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, J., and Wiginton, K. (1997). Perceptions and coping among women living with lupus. Am. J. Health Behav. 21: 129–136.Google Scholar
  4. Davis, C., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., and Larson, J. (1998). Making sense of loss and benefiting from experience: Two construals of meaning. J. Person. Soc. Psychol. 72: 561–574.Google Scholar
  5. McNair, D., Lorr, M., and Droppleman, L. (1981). Manual for the Profile of Mood States, Educational and Industrial Testing Service, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  6. Mohr, D., Dick, L., Russo, D., Pinn, J., Boudewyn, A., Likosky, W., and Goodkin, D. (1999). The psychosocial impact of multiple sclerosis: Exploring the patient's perspective. Health Psychol. 18: 376–382.Google Scholar
  7. Moran, M. (1996). Psychiatric aspects of rheumatology. Consult.-Liaison Psychiatry 19: 575–587.Google Scholar
  8. Nathan, P., and Gorman, J. (1998). A Guide to Treatments that Work, Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Taylor, S. (1983). Adjustment to threatening events: A theory of cognitive adaptation. Am. Psychol. 38: 1161–1173.Google Scholar
  10. Tedeschi, R., and Calhoun, L. (1995). Trauma and Transformation, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.Google Scholar
  11. Thompson, S. (1985). Finding positive meaning in a stressful event and coping. Basic Appl. Soc. Psychol. 6: 279–295.Google Scholar
  12. Wollman, C., and Felton, B. (1983). Social supports as stress buffers for adult cancer patients. Psychosom. Med. 45: 321–331.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger C. Katz
  • Lydia Flasher
  • Holly Cacciapaglia
  • Sonja Nelson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations