Stress management skills and reductions in serum cortisol across the year after surgery for non-metastatic breast cancer

Kristin M. Phillips, Michael H. Antoni, Charles S. Carver, Suzanne C. Lechner, Frank J. Penedo, Michael E. McCullough, Stefan Gluck, Robert P. Derhagopian, Bonnie B. Blomberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Treatment for breast cancer affects psychological adaptation and related neuroendocrine stress indicators. Previously, a 10-week cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM) group intervention decreased cortisol over 12-months among women receiving treatment for breast cancer. The current re-analysis tested whether changes in stress management skills at 6-month follow-up predict the magnitude of cortisol reductions at 12-months in a time-lagged analysis. Women (N = 128) with non-metastatic breast cancer recruited post-surgery were randomized to the CBSM intervention or 1-day psychoeducational seminar. Participants reported perceived CBSM skills and provided late afternoon blood samples for serum cortisol at baseline and 6- and 12-month follow-ups. Improved perceived ability to relax and use cognitive reappraisal skills at 6-months statistically mediated intervention-associated cortisol reduction from 6- to 12-months. This is the first study showing that improved perceived CBSM skills predict the magnitude of cortisol reductions over 1 year in this population and may guide development of more focused interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-600
Number of pages6
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011



  • Breast cancer
  • Cortisol
  • Intervention
  • Relaxation
  • Stress management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this