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Coping strategies and quality of life in women with advanced breast cancer and their family caregivers

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Coping with advanced breast cancer is a challenge for both women and their family caregivers. The primary purposes of this study were to compare coping strategies used by patients with advanced breast cancer and their family caregivers and to examine how those strategies related to patient and caregiver quality of life. The sample consisted of 189 patient-family member dyads with advanced breast cancer. Profile analysis showed that patients reported greater use of emotional support, religion, positive reframing, distraction, venting, and humor coping while family members reported greater use of alcohol/drug coping. Regression analyses showed that among both patients and family caregivers, active coping was associated with higher quality of life and avoidant coping was associated with lower quality of life. In addition, the patient's level of symptom distress moderated the relationship between coping and quality of life. The negative relationship between family caregivers' avoidant coping strategies and family caregivers' mental quality of life was strongest when patients had low levels of symptom distress and weakest when patients had high levels of symptom distress.
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Keywords: Breast cancer; Coping; Dyads; Quality of life

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Yale University 60 College Street New Haven CT 06520 USA 2: School of Nursing University of Michigan 3: College of Nursing Wayne State University

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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