Uncertainty, Posttraumatic Stress, and Health Behavior in Young Adult Childhood Cancer Survivors

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Abstract

Background:

Young adult survivors of childhood cancer are at risk for medical late effects, some of which can be managed through health promotion behaviors. However, chronic uncertainty about the future can lead to the development of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) that can interfere with health promotion behaviors.

Objectives:

To test a mediating model for the relationships among uncertainty, PTSS, and health promotion behaviors in young adult survivors of childhood cancer.

Methods:

The design was cross-sectional correlational. A convenience sample was used, and the data were collected using a mailed survey. Study measures included the Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale-Community Form, the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Index, and the Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II.

Results:

Forty-six (51.1%) of the eligible survivors responded to the invitation to participate in the study. The analysis was based on data from 45 survivors. The results show that the relationship between PTSS and health promotion behaviors was mediated by uncertainty.

Discussion:

Uncertainty is a suitable target for theory-based nursing interventions used to boost health promotion behaviors in young adult survivors of childhood cancer.

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