Adaptation to Cancer from the Perspective of Attachment Theory

  • Chris HinnenEmail author


While it seems obvious that having cancer is highly demanding and stressful, most patients actually report relatively low levels of distress after they are diagnosed with cancer or are distressed for only a relatively short time (Helgeson et al. 2004; Henselmans et al. 2010; Hinnen et al. 2008). Still, large variations in stress responses can be seen among people with cancer, and a substantial subgroup may show considerable and enduring levels of physical and emotional stress (Mitchell et al. 2011), especially at the end of life (Gao et al. 2010). In recent years scholars and researchers alike have turned to attachment theory to understand these variations in stress responses. In this chapter the literature and utility of attachment theory to understand individual differences in adaptation to cancer will be described.


Attachment Style Attachment Theory Borderline Personality Disorder Emotional Inhibition Disorganize Attachment 
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Psychology and Hospital PsychiatryMC Slotervaart HospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Health Psychology Section, Department of Health SciencesUniversity Medical Centre GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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