Family histories of breast cancer, coping styles, and psychological adjustment

Youngmee Kim, Heiddis B. Valdimarsdottir, Dana H. Bovbjerg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Although women with family histories of breast cancer (FHBC+) have been reported to have higher levels of cancer-specific and general distress than have women without such histories (FHBC-), there has been considerable variability in levels of distress found. This study examined individual differences in the use of coping strategies as likely moderators of the relationship between FHBC and psychological outcomes. One hundred and sixteen healthy women (47 FHBC+ and 69 FHBC-) participated. Results revealed that passive coping style was associated with higher levels of cancer-specific distress among FHBC+, but not among FHBC-. This interaction was not found for negative or positive affect. The passive coping style was associated with higher levels of negative affect across both groups. These results suggest that passive coping has negative implications for FHBC+ women and imply that individualized coping training programs targeting this coping strategy may prove useful for these women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-243
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003
Externally publishedYes



  • Coping
  • Family histories of breast cancer
  • Positive affect
  • Psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology

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