Resilience as a predictor for emotional response to the diagnosis and surgery in breast cancer patients

Sabine E. Markovitz*, Ward Schrooten, Arnoud Arntz, Madelon L. Peters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objective: The purposes of the present study were to investigate the role of resilience in the prediction of emotional response in breast cancer patients and to examine whether this association is specific for women undergoing this emotionally taxing condition or whether resilience is more generally associated with higher levels of emotional well-being. Methods: Two hundred fifty-three breast cancer patients and 211 healthy female controls completed four psychological questionnaires. Measures comprised the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, and two happiness items. Cancer patients were assessed after diagnosis and surgery. Results: Cancer patients reported higher levels of anxiety, depression, and negative affect and lower levels of positive affect and current happiness compared with control women. There was no difference between the two groups in level of resilience. Higher levels of resilience were related to better emotional adjustment both in women with breast cancer and in control women, but this association was stronger within the sample of cancer patients. In fact, patients scoring high on resilience seemed to experience similar levels of anxiety, depression, and current happiness as healthy women. Conclusion: Our results confirm that resilience may at least partially protect against emotional distress in cancer patients. Our findings suggest that resilience may be a relatively stable trait that is not affected by adversity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1639-1645
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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