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Coping among african-american, hispanic, and non-hispanic white women recently treated for early stage breast cancer

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Relatively little is known about how members of minority groups cope with experiences such as diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer - in particular, whether coping patterns among minorities differ from that of the majority. This study adds to the existing knowledge base using a cross-sectional sample of middle-class African-American (n = 26), Hispanic (n = 59), and non-Hispanic White women (n = 151) who had been treated for early stage breast cancer in the past year. We tested for differences in coping responses per se and also for the possibility that coping would relate to distress differently in different groups. There were only two differences in coping (controlling for medical variables, education, and distress): compared to non-Hispanic White women, the other two groups both reported using humor-based coping less, and religion-based coping more. There was one difference in how coping related to distress: venting related more strongly to elevated distress among Hispanic than among non-Hispanics. Discussion centers on a growing consensus on ethnic differences in religious and humor-based coping, and on the relative absence of other coping differences among these populations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology University of Miami Coral Gables FL 33124-2070

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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