Concerns about breast cancer, pain, and fatigue in non-metastatic breast cancer patients undergoing primary treatment

Chelsea R. Amiel, Hannah M. Fisher, Michael H. Antoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women diagnosed with breast cancer often endorse psychosocial concerns prior to treatment, which may influence symptom experiences. Among these, low perceived social support relates to elevated fatigue. Those with low social support perceptions may also experience a greater sense of rejection. We sought to determine if social rejection concerns post-surgery predict fatigue interference 12 months later in women with non-metastatic breast cancer. Depressive symptoms and pain severity after completion of adjuvant therapy (six months post-surgery) were examined as potential mediators. Women (N = 240) with non-metastatic breast cancer were recruited 2–10 weeks post-surgery. Multiple regression analyses examined relationships among variables adjusting for relevant covariates. Greater rejection concerns at study entry predicted greater fatigue interference 12 months later (p < 0.01). Pain severity after adjuvant therapy partially mediated the relationship between social rejection concerns and fatigue interference, with significant indirect (β = 0.06, 95% CI (0.009, 0.176)) and direct effects (β = 0.18, SE = 0.07, t(146) = 2.78, p < 0.01, 95% CI (0.053, 0.311)). Therefore, pain levels post-treatment may affect how concerns of social rejection relate to subsequent fatigue interference. Interventions targeting fears of social rejection and interpersonal skills early in treatment may reduce physical symptom burden during treatment and into survivorship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number62
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2016


  • Breast cancer
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Rejection
  • Social support
  • Survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Health Information Management
  • Leadership and Management


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