Profiles of Dispositional Expectancies and Affectivity Predict Later Psychosocial Functioning in Children and Adolescents With Cancer


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Abstract

Objective Examined how individual differences in disposition among pediatric cancer patients predict their later psychosocial functioning. Methods Patients aged 8–17 years (N = 223) reported on their disposition at baseline. One and three years later, self-reports and parent reports of patient psychosocial functioning were obtained. Latent profile analysis was used to identify subgroups that differed on baseline disposition and to compare them on later outcomes. Results Three groups were identified: The “Positive” group (59%) had high optimism and positive affectivity and low pessimism and negative affectivity; the “Moderate” group (39%) had a similar profile, with less exaggerated scores; a small, “Negative” group (2%) had the opposite profile (low optimism/positive affectivity; high pessimism/negative affectivity). These groups differed in psychosocial functioning at follow-up, generally in expected directions. Conclusions Most patients have a disposition that may be protective. A small minority at high risk for maladjustment is distinguished by their disposition.

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