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Emotional Processing and Expression in Breast Cancer Patients: Effects of Health and Psychological Adjustment.

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Final rept. 9 Sep 94-8 Sep 98

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I Two studies tested the hypothesis that coping through emotional approach, which involves actively processing and expressing emotions surrounding cancer, is influential in enhancing psychological adjustment and health status for breast cancer patents. The longitudinal, naturalistic study Study 1 included 92 Stage I or II breast cancer patients who completed instruments within 20 weeks following primary treatment and three months later. Findings reveal that participants who, at study entry, coped through expressing emotions surrounding cancer had fewer medical appointments for cancer-related morbidities during the subsequent three months, reported better physical health and more vigor, and reported lower distress than those lower in emotional expression, with age and initial level of psychological adjustment controlled statistically. In Study 2, an independent sample of 53 breast cancer patients, recruited within 20 weeks following primary treatment, were assigned randomly to one of three conditions, each of which involved a writing task conducted over four sessions emotional expression EMO, positive focus POS, and fact control CTL. At three-month follow-up, the conditions did not differ significantly on psychological adjustment. However, the EMO and POS participants experienced fewer negative physical symptoms and had fewer medical appointments for cancer-related morbidities than did CTL participants.

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  • Psychology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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