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Reducing behavioural risk factors for cancer: An affect regulation perspective

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Nearly half of all cancer deaths are attributable to preventable causes, primarily unhealthy behaviours such as tobacco use, alcohol use and overeating. In this review, we argue that people engage in these behaviours, at least in part, as a means of regulating their affective states. To better understand why people engage in these behaviours and how researchers might design interventions to promote the selection of healthier methods for regulating affect, we propose a conceptual model of affect regulation. We synthesise research from both the stress and coping tradition as well as the emotion and emotion regulation tradition, two literatures that are not typically integrated. In so doing, we indicate where researchers have made headway in understanding these behaviours as affect regulation and note how our model could be used to structure future work in a way that would be particularly advantageous to cancer control efforts.
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Keywords: affect; cancer; coping; emotion; emotion regulation; stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA 2: Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA

Publication date: January 2, 2018

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