Understanding the Roles of Patient Symptoms and Subjective Appraisals in Well-Being Among Breast Cancer Patients

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We examined the roles of both patient symptoms, and subjective appraisals of stress (self-efficacy, symptom barriers, symptom distress) in understanding well-being (anxiety, depression, cancer specific quality of life, mental health quality of life, and physical health quality of life) in breast cancer patients. We examined data from 104 breast cancer patients. Using a stress process model, we hypothesized that while high levels of patient symptoms would be associated with poorer patient well-being, these effects would be mediated by subjective appraisals including patient self-efficacy, perceived symptom barriers, and symptom distress. As expected, higher levels of patient symptoms were associated with poorer well-being on all five indicators. Subjective appraisals of stress added significantly to predictors of well-being, and were mediators of this relationship across all five outcomes. While patient symptoms are important predictors of patient well-being, subjective appraisals of the stressfulness of symptoms, and of patients’ self-efficacy in managing symptoms, are also key factors. The findings suggest the utility of a stress process model in understanding well-being in breast cancer patients, and point to the potential value of targeting patient appraisals as well as symptoms to improve psychological well-being and quality of life.

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Innovation in Aging, v. 2, issue suppl_1, p. 284