The role of recalibration response shift in explaining bodily pain in cancer patients undergoing invasive surgery: an empirical investigation of the Sprangers and Schwartz model

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This study aims to explain bodily pain using the Sprangers and Schwartz theoretical model (1999) on quality of life (QL) and response shift in its entirety. Response shift refers to the phenomenon that themeaningof a person's self-evaluation changes over time. In this model, response shift mediates effects of changes in health status (catalysts), stable characteristics of the person (antecedents), and coping mechanisms (mechanisms) onQL.


Cancer patients (202) were assessed prior to and 3 months following surgery. Measures were forcatalysts: type of operation and possibility of tumor resection; forantecedents: age, duration of pain, optimism, and rigidity; formechanisms: post-traumatic growth, social comparisons, social support, denial, and acceptance; and forQL: bodily pain; forresponse shift: the pretest-minus-thentest bodily pain score, further referred to as recalibration response shift. Structural equation modeling and sequential regression analyses were used.


The final model reached close fit (RMSEA = 0.03; 90% CI = 0.000–0.071;χ2 (18) = 21.13;p= 0.27). Significant effects were found for catalysts on mechanisms, antecedents on mechanisms, mechanisms on response shift, and response shift on bodily pain. Four extra model effects had to be permitted. Using sequential regression analysis, recalibration response shift added 4.4% to the total amount of 29.8% explained variance of bodily pain.


Many effects as hypothesized by the model were found. Recalibration response shift had a unique albeit small contribution to the explanation of bodily pain. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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