Psychological Adjustment in Breast Cancer Survivors

  • Annette L. Stanton
  • Julienne E. Bower
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 862)


Women living with a diagnosis of breast cancer constitute more than 20 % of the cancer survivor population in the United States. Research on trajectories of psychological adjustment in women recently diagnosed with breast suggests that the largest proportion of women evidences relatively low psychological distress either from the point of diagnosis or after a period of recovery. Substantial heterogeneity exists, however, and some women are at risk for lingering depression, anxiety, fear of cancer recurrence and other long-term psychological effects. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer also report a number of benefits that arise from their experience of cancer. Longitudinal studies have illuminated risk and protective factors for psychological adjustment in breast cancer survivors, which we describe in this chapter. Effective psychosocial interventions, as evidenced in randomized controlled trials, also are available for bolstering breast cancer-related adjustment. We offer directions for research to deepen the understanding of biological, psychological, and social contributors to positive adjustment in the context of breast cancer, as well as suggestions for the development of optimally efficient evidence-based psychosocial interventions for women living with the disease.


Breast cancer Psychological distress Quality of life Randomized controlled trial Intervention Survivorship 


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Copyright information

© Breast Cancer Research Foundation 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry/Biobehavioral SciencesJonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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