optimism -wellbeing

optimism -wellbeing - Psychology and Health January 2008;...

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Psychology and Health January 2008; 23(1): 57–72 Effects of optimism, interpersonal relationships, and distress on psychosexual well-being among women with early stage breast cancer MICHAEL H. ANTONI Department of Psychology, University of Miami, 5665 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL, USA (Received 8 February 2006; in final form 1 November 2006) Abstract This study examined associations between optimism, social support, and distress as they relate to psychosexual well-being among 136 women with Stage 0, I, and II breast cancer. Women were assessed immediately post-surgery and 3, 6, and 12 months post-surgery. Results support two cross-sectional mediation models. The first model indicates that patients who are more optimistic experience greater psychosexual well-being (i.e., feel more feminine, attractive, and sexually desirable) partly because they perceive themselves as having more social support available. The second model indicates that patients who are more optimistic experience greater psychosexual well-being partly because they experience less emotional distress related to the disease. When the two models were tested simultaneously, distress no longer contributed uniquely to the model at any time point except for 12 months follow-up. Keywords: Breast cancer, optimism, social support, distress, psychosexual well-being Introduction Women who are diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer face many challenges. Among their concerns is how the treatment will affect their physical appearance (Carver et al., 1998; Spencer et al., 1999). Unlike most other diseases, a breast cancer diagnosis carries with it a direct threat to a woman’s sense of femininity and attractiveness, due to the loss or disfigurement of the woman’s breast(s). How women react to these changes varies with several factors, Correspondence: Sarah Wimberly, Department of Psychology, University of Miami, 5665 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL, USA. E-mail: swimberly@gmail.com ISSN 0887-0446 print/ISSN 1476-8321 online ß DOI: 10.1080/14768320701204211
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including individual characteristics and aspects of their interpersonal relation- ships (Ghizzani, Pirtoli, Bellezza, & Velicogna, 1995; Schover, 1991). One factor known to influence adjustment to breast cancer is the trait of optimism. Scheier and Carver (1985) defined optimism as the expectancy that good outcomes generally occur when confronting problems in important life domains. Research indicates that optimists face adversity and handle challenges more effectively than pessimists and therefore benefit psychologically (Brissette, Scheier, & Carver, 2002; Carver & Gaines, 1987; Cutrona, 1982; Litt, Tennen, Affleck, & Klock, 1992; 1999; Scheier & Carver, 1985; Scheier et al., 1989; Segerstrom et al., 1998). In particular, several studies have found that greater optimism among breast
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optimism -wellbeing - Psychology and Health January 2008;...

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