The influence of coping strategies on subsequent well-being in older patients with cancer: A comparison with 2 control groups

Abdelbari Baitar*, Frank Buntinx, Tine De Burghgraeve, Laura Deckx, Dirk Schrijvers, Hans Wildiers, Marjan van den Akker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To evaluate dispositional coping strategies as predictors for changes in well-being after 1 year in older patients with cancer (OCP) and 2 control groups. Methods: OCP were compared with 2 control groups: middle-aged patients with cancer (MCP) (aging effect) and older patients without cancer (ONC) (cancer effect). Patients were interviewed shortly after a cancer diagnosis and 1 year later. Dispositional coping was measured with the Short Utrecht Coping List. For well-being, we considered psychological well-being (depression, loneliness, distress) and physical health (fatigue, ADL, IADL). Logistic regression analyses were performed to study baseline coping as predictor for subsequent well-being while controlling for important baseline covariates. Results: A total of 1245 patients were included in the analysis at baseline: 263 OCP, 590 ONC, and 392 MCP. Overall, active tackling was employed most often. With the exception of palliative reacting, OCP utilized each coping strategy less frequently than MCP. At 1-year follow-up, 833 patients (66.9%) were interviewed. Active coping strategies (active tackling and seeking social support) predicted subsequent well-being only in MCP. Avoidance coping strategies did not predict well-being in any of the patient groups. Palliative reacting predicted distress in OCP; depression and dependency for ADL in MCP. Conclusions: Coping strategies influence subsequent well-being in patients with cancer, but the impact is different in the age groups. Palliative reacting was the only coping strategy that predicted well-being (ie, distress) in OCP and is therefore, especially in this population, a target for coping skill interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)864-870
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • cancer
  • coping
  • older patients
  • oncology
  • well-being
  • 1ST YEAR


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