Illness perceptions and perceived stress in patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancer

Jessica Miceli, David Geller, Allan Tsung, Carol Lynn Hecht, Yisi Wang, Ritambhara Pathak, Hannah Cheng, Wallis Marsh, Michael Antoni, Frank Penedo, Lora Burke, Kathleen Ell, Shutian Shen, Jennifer Steel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: According to the Common-Sense Model of Self-Regulation, when faced with a health threat, we make cognitive and emotional assumptions about the illness. The aims of this study were to (a) examine the role of sociodemographic and disease-specific factors on illness perception and perceived stress and (b) test the association between perceived stress and illness perception in participants diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer. Methods: Participants completed a battery of questionnaires including a Sociodemographic and Disease-Specific Questionnaire, the Illness Perception Questionnaire, Brief Version (Brief-IPQ), and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-14). Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlations, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and linear regression were performed to test the hypotheses. Results: Of the 627 participants, the mean age was 62 years (SD = 11); the majority were male (63.3%) and Caucasian (90.9%). Younger (F3,625 = 5.80, P <.01) and divorced or never married participants reported higher levels of perceived stress when compared with older and married participants (F4,618 = 3.52, P <.01). Younger participants (18-74 years old) reported more negative illness perceptions than older participants (75 years and older) (F3,511 = 4.08, P <.01). A weak, positive relationship between perceived stress and illness perceptions was observed (r = 0.22, P <.01), and illness perceptions predicted 36.1% of the variance of perceived stress. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that participants who negatively perceived their illness experienced greater levels of perceived stress. Interventions that aim to adjust patients' illness perceptions in order to facilitate a reduction of stress and improvement in quality of life are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1513-1519
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • cancer
  • gastrointestinal cancer
  • illness perception
  • oncology
  • perceived stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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