Optimism versus pessimism predicts the quality of women's adjustment to early stage breast cancer

Charles S Carver, C. Pozo-Kaderman, S. D. Harris, V. Noriega, M. F. Scheier, D. S. Robinson, A. S. Ketcham, Frederick L Moffat, K. C. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

131 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. Recent studies indicate that breast cancer patients do not usually experience the devastating psychological consequences once viewed as inevitable. However, some adjust to the disease more poorly than others. This study examined the personality trait of optimism versus pessimism as a predictor of adjustment over the first year, postsurgery. Methods. Seventy women with early stage breast cancer reported on their general optimism- pessimism at diagnosis. One day before surgery, and at 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month follow-ups, they reported their subjective well-being (mood scales and a measure of satisfaction with life). At follow-ups, they also rated their sex lives, indicated how much physical discomfort was interfering with their daily activities, and reported on thought intrusion. Results. Pessimism displayed poorer adjustment at each time point by all measures except interference from pain. Even controlling for previous well-being, pessimism predicted poorer subsequent well-being, suggesting that pessimism represents a vulnerability to a negative change in adjustment. In contrast, effects of pessimism on quality of sex life and thought intrusion were not incremental over time. Additional analyses indicated that effects of the optimism- pessimism measure were captured relatively well by a single item from the scale. Conclusions. A sense of pessimism about one's life enhances a woman's risk for adverse psychological reactions to the diagnosis of, and treatment for, breast cancer. This finding suggests the potential desirability of assessing this quality informally in patients, to serve as a warning sign regarding the patient's well-being during the period surrounding and following surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1220
Number of pages8
JournalCancer
Volume73
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

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Social Adjustment
Breast Neoplasms
Psychology
Optimism
Pessimism
Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
Personality
Quality of Life
Pain

Keywords

  • breast cancer
  • personality
  • psychological well-being
  • psychosocial sequelae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Cite this

Carver, C. S., Pozo-Kaderman, C., Harris, S. D., Noriega, V., Scheier, M. F., Robinson, D. S., ... Clark, K. C. (1994). Optimism versus pessimism predicts the quality of women's adjustment to early stage breast cancer. Cancer, 73(4), 1213-1220.

Optimism versus pessimism predicts the quality of women's adjustment to early stage breast cancer. / Carver, Charles S; Pozo-Kaderman, C.; Harris, S. D.; Noriega, V.; Scheier, M. F.; Robinson, D. S.; Ketcham, A. S.; Moffat, Frederick L; Clark, K. C.

In: Cancer, Vol. 73, No. 4, 01.01.1994, p. 1213-1220.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Carver, CS, Pozo-Kaderman, C, Harris, SD, Noriega, V, Scheier, MF, Robinson, DS, Ketcham, AS, Moffat, FL & Clark, KC 1994, 'Optimism versus pessimism predicts the quality of women's adjustment to early stage breast cancer', Cancer, vol. 73, no. 4, pp. 1213-1220.
Carver CS, Pozo-Kaderman C, Harris SD, Noriega V, Scheier MF, Robinson DS et al. Optimism versus pessimism predicts the quality of women's adjustment to early stage breast cancer. Cancer. 1994 Jan 1;73(4):1213-1220.
Carver, Charles S ; Pozo-Kaderman, C. ; Harris, S. D. ; Noriega, V. ; Scheier, M. F. ; Robinson, D. S. ; Ketcham, A. S. ; Moffat, Frederick L ; Clark, K. C. / Optimism versus pessimism predicts the quality of women's adjustment to early stage breast cancer. In: Cancer. 1994 ; Vol. 73, No. 4. pp. 1213-1220.
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