Communication avoidance, coping and psychological distress of women with breast cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between communication avoidance of cancer-related topics with psychological distress, and the mediating role of coping strategies, in women with breast cancer. Women diagnosed with breast cancer (N = 338) completed an online survey including measures of self- and perceived-partner communication avoidance, psychological distress (depression, anxiety and stress), and coping strategies. Linear regression analyses indicated that women’s and perceived-partner’s communication avoidance was associated with anxiety, depression, and stress in the cancer-affected women. Bootstrapping analyses showed significant mediation effects of self- and perceived-partner communication avoidance on all distress outcomes through greater disengagement coping, and on anxiety through lower engagement coping. Emotionally valenced topics (i.e., disease progression and sexuality) were most avoided and practical issues were least avoided. Enhancing couple communication about cancer and women’s adaptive coping skills (i.e., discourage use of disengagement coping strategies and promote use of engagement coping strategies) may be important targets for psychosocial intervention.

LanguageEnglish
Pages565-577
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

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Anxiety
Communication
Breast Neoplasms
Psychology
Interpersonal Relations
Depression
Neoplasms
Psychological Adaptation
Sexuality
Disease Progression
Linear Models
Regression Analysis

Cite this

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title = "Communication avoidance, coping and psychological distress of women with breast cancer",
abstract = "This study examined the relationship between communication avoidance of cancer-related topics with psychological distress, and the mediating role of coping strategies, in women with breast cancer. Women diagnosed with breast cancer (N = 338) completed an online survey including measures of self- and perceived-partner communication avoidance, psychological distress (depression, anxiety and stress), and coping strategies. Linear regression analyses indicated that women’s and perceived-partner’s communication avoidance was associated with anxiety, depression, and stress in the cancer-affected women. Bootstrapping analyses showed significant mediation effects of self- and perceived-partner communication avoidance on all distress outcomes through greater disengagement coping, and on anxiety through lower engagement coping. Emotionally valenced topics (i.e., disease progression and sexuality) were most avoided and practical issues were least avoided. Enhancing couple communication about cancer and women’s adaptive coping skills (i.e., discourage use of disengagement coping strategies and promote use of engagement coping strategies) may be important targets for psychosocial intervention.",
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Communication avoidance, coping and psychological distress of women with breast cancer. / Yu, Yisha; Sherman, Kerry A.

In: Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Vol. 38, No. 3, 01.06.2015, p. 565-577.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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