Uncertainty in Gynecological Cancer: A Test of the Mediating Functions of Mastery and Coping

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to test a portion of the uncertainty in illness model to determine whether mastery would be strengthened or weakened under conditions of uncertainty, and to test the ability of mastery and coping to function as mediators in the model. Mastery was proposed to mediate the relationship between uncertainty and the appraisal of danger and opportunity. Coping was proposed to mediate the relationships between danger or opportunity and emotional distress. Data were collected on a sample of 131 women receiving treatment for gynecological cancer. Findings support mastery as weakened under conditions of uncertainty and functioning as a situationally specific personality factor. Mastery was a significant mediator of the relationship between uncertainty and the appraisal of danger and opportunity; although the mediation effect for the relationship between uncertainty and danger was stronger. While two coping strategies were found to function as significant mediators between danger or opportunity and emotional distress, the mediation effect was very small.

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