COPING AND QUALITY OF LIFE AMONG WOMEN EXTENSIVELY TREATED FOR GYNECOLOGIC CANCER


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Abstract

SUMMARYThe current study examined the use of engagement and avoidant coping strategies among advanced-stage gynecologic cancer patients who were facing the long-term stressors of extensive chemotherapy and advanced disease. Patients were compared to a reference group of early-stage patients who had received more limited treatment. Compared to the reference group, extensively-treated women more frequently utilized both engagement and avoidant strategies including active coping, seeking social support, and mental disengagement. Use of engagement coping strategies such as active coping and seeking social support were not significantly related to quality of life or mood. However, avoidant coping strategies, including disengagement and cognitive avoidance, were strongly associated with poorer well-being and more distressed mood. Moreover, relationships between coping and quality of life differed between the extensively-treated patients and patients in the limited treatment reference group. The use of avoidance and seeking instrumental support were associated with poorer outcomes among extensively-treated patients but not among the limited treatment group. Results of the current study suggest that coping patterns and outcomes may be more pronounced among cancer patients contending with severe disease and extensive treatment and that avoidant coping strategies may be particularly detrimental with respect to these patients’ mood and quality of life. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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