Predictors of distress in women with breast cancer: The importance of illness perceptions

Andrea Gibbons, AnnMarie Groarke, Ruth Curtis, Anne Marie Keane

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Background: The present study assessed the impact of illness perceptions and coping on distress in women diagnosed with breast cancer. Methods: Women with breast cancer (N =100) completed measures of illness perceptions (IPQ-R), anxiety (STAI), perceived stress (PSS), coping (MAC), and positive and negative affect (PANAS). Findings: Controlling for disease and demographic variables, illness perceptions accounted for 30% of depression, 15% of perceived stress, and 15% of state anxiety. Higher personal control beliefs (p < .05), and a stronger illness identity (p < .01), predicted higher levels of depression. Reporting more serious consequences predicted more perceived stress, whilst having a better understanding of the illness predicted lower anxiety (p < .05). Higher levels of fighting spirit (p < .001), and low levels of fatalistic coping (p < .05) predicted higher positive affect. Discussion: Both illness perceptions and coping should be considered when developing future interventions to reduce distress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215
Number of pages1
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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