The course and duration of crisis

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Crisis theory rests in part on the assumption that specific psychological changes accompany the crisis state and that adaptation to a crisis occurs within 6-8 wks after onset. To verify these assertions, 5 psychological tests were administered to a crisis group composed of 35 patients undergoing surgery for cancer and to a comparison group composed of 70 patients undergoing surgery for less serious illnesses. The tests were the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Wakefield Self-Assessment Depression Inventory, a modified version of Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Scale, the Rosenberg Self-Concept Scale, and the Halpern Crisis Scale. Tests were administered 4 times, first on the night before surgery and thereafter at 3-wk intervals. Results indicate significant psychological changes only in the crisis group, in which feelings of helplessness preceded the appearance of depression and lowered self-esteem. Contrary to present theory, the duration of crisis was found to be greater than 6 wks but less than 7 mo. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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