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Patients with breast cancer are able to gain psychological benefits from cancer diagnosis and treatment, such as a greater purpose of life and closer relationships, termed as ‘benefit finding’ (BF). The objective of this study was to determine the effects of sociodemographic, pathological, and psychological variables on BF in women with non-metastatic breast cancer.A total of 404 patients with breast cancer were recruited to complete a demographic survey, a Chinese version of the Benefit Finding Scale, the Optimism-pessimism Scale, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire during the first week after the confirmation of the diagnosis (T1). All participants finished the Chinese version of the Benefit Finding Scale again 6 weeks after diagnosis (T2).Age and education of patients, perceived social support from family, acceptance, positive reappraisal, and the baseline level of BF exhibited a positive prediction on BF. Education, pessimism, and perceived social support from family had a positive prediction and perceived social support from friends and refocus on planning had a negative prediction on the family relationship of BF. Education, perceived social support from family and friends, and the baseline level of BF had a positive prediction on the acceptance of BF.Perceived social support and cognitive emotion regulation strategies employed in response to breast cancer are important contributing factors to BF in women with breast cancer. In order to improve the longer-term adaptation of patients, benefit finding, either directly or via cognitive emotion regulation strategies, could be targeted for intervention. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.