Dispositional optimism, fatalism, and quality of life in Latino cancer patients.

  • Ross P
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The impact of dispositional optimism and fatalism on quality of life (QoL) domains in cancer patient populations has been extensively studied in the health literature. Optimism has been shown to be associated with better QoL and active coping strategies; however, few studies have investigated these relationships in Latino cancer patient populations. Furthermore, although fatalism has been extensively studied in Latino populations in regards to lower cancer screening practices, avoidant coping, and psychological distress, few studies have investigated the relationship between fatalism, acculturation, and QoL. Optimism, fatalism, acculturation, coping responses, and QoL outcomes were examined in 105 Latino cancer patients (40 men and 65 women) with solid tumor diagnoses. The Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R; Scheier et al., 1994) was utilized to measure optimism. Powerful Others (PHLC) and Chance (CHLC) subscales of the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale (MHLC; Wallston & Wallston, 1978) and the Powe Fatalism Inventory (PFI; Powe, 1995) were used to measure dimensions of fatalism. Coping responses were assessed with the Brief Cope (Carver, 1997), and an adapted version of the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans (ARSMA-II; Cuellar, Arnold, & Maldonado, 1995) was used to determine the acculturation status of the participants. Results indicated that optimism and acculturation were positively correlated with QoL, and optimism proved to have a significant and positive mediating effect on the relationship of acculturation status and QoL. Optimistic Latino cancer patients tended to utilize active coping, planning, and acceptance strategies, but only active coping and acceptance were related to higher QoL scores. Pessimistic patients used more avoidant coping strategies (denial, venting, substance use, and behavioral disengagement), which were significantly related to lower QoL scores. Higher levels of fatalism and less acculturation were also associated with lower QoL scores. Patients who reported higher levels of cancer fear tended to use more denial coping. All the avoidant coping responses were associated with CHLC; only substance use was related to PHLC. Clinical assessment of these study variables in Latino patient populations may help identify individuals at risk for adjustment problems following a cancer diagnosis. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Fatalism
  • Latino cancer patients
  • Latinos/Latinas
  • Neoplasms
  • Optimism
  • Quality of Life
  • dispositional optimism
  • fatalism
  • quality of life

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  • Paula J Ross

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