Hope and Coping in Patients With Cancer Diagnoses

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This descriptive correlational study explored hope and coping in patients with various cancer diagnoses. Four groups of patients with gastrointestinal/ genitourinary, breast, head and neck, or hematologic malignancies completed the Herth Hope Scale, the Jalowiec Coping Scale, and a basic demographic form. Subjects were recruited from the oncology outpatient clinic of a large mid-Atlantic teaching institution. Information about tumor site and stage was obtained from a chart review. Fifteen different malignancies were represented. Seventy-one percent of the 183 participants had metastatic or recurrent disease. No significant differences were found in the levels of hope or coping style use and coping effectiveness by type of cancer. The level of hope was relatively high, even in those patients who knew that their disease was in an advanced stage. A positive relationship was found between hope and coping style use (P = .013) and coping effectiveness (P < .001) in all 4 groups. The findings demonstrate that the level of hope was high and was positively related to coping in patients with cancer, regardless of gender, age, marital status, education, or site of malignancy. These findings support the need for nurses to continue to practice hope-inspiring behaviors, to implement hope-fostering interventions, and to avoid hope-hindering practices among their patients.

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