Attributions, beliefs about control, and adjustment to breast cancer

  • Taylor S
  • Lichtman R
  • Wood J
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Attributions for cancer and beliefs about control over cancer were examined for their association with adjustment to breast cancer. Although 95% of the respondents made attributions for their cancer, no particular attribution (e.g., stress, diet) was associated with better adjustment. Analyses of attributions of responsibility for the cancer to the self, environment, another person, or chance yielded only a negative relation between adjustment and blaming another person. In contrast, both the belief that one could now control one's cancer and the belief that others (e.g. the physician) could now control the cancer were significantly associated with good adjustment. Of the different types of control, cognitive control was most strongly associated with adjustment, behavior control was less strongly associated with adjustment, and information control and retrospective control were unassociated with adjustment. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • attributions &
  • beliefs about control of disease by self or medical profession, adjustment, 29-78 yr old female breast cancer patients

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  • Shelley E. Taylor

  • Rosemary R. Lichtman

  • Joanne V. Wood

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