An Investigation of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Ways of Coping Among Cancer Patients

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Title: An Investigation of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Ways of Coping Among Cancer Patients
Author: Cummins, Rene E.
Advisors: Charles Korte, Committee Chair
Abstract: Relationships among posttraumatic stress symptoms, ways of coping with cancer, and personal, socioenvironmental and situational background factors were examined for 60 cancer patients recruited from a large regional cancer center in NC. Measures included an adapted form of the Davidson Trauma scale, the Stress Symptoms Scale, and Ways of Coping with Cancer. Correlational and regression analyses were used to examine these relationships. Markedly high levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms were found as over half of the participants had a threshold score of 40 or higher. Cancer patients were highly flexible in their coping efforts, and a third of the participants lacked a primary coping method. The background factors accounted for 23% to 45% of the variance in levels of total, intrusive and avoidant stress symptoms; hyperarousal stress symptoms were not well predicted. The background factors explained 21% to 38% of the variance in 4 of the 5 coping methods; only behavioral escape-avoidance was not well predicted. Higher levels of total stress symptoms were associated with younger age, not being married, more recent diagnosis, and currently being in treatment. Total stress symptoms were significantly related to coping by social support, and both forms of escape-avoidance, but unrelated to distancing and positive focus. Results may inform prevention strategies and targeted interventions to strengthen or counteract the dynamics among these relationships, and may guide future research efforts concerning cancer patients.
Date: 2005-12-06
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Psychology
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/5182


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