Breast cancer patients' topic avoidance and psychological distress: the mediating role of coping

Author(s): Donovan-Kicken E, Caughlin JP


Avoiding communication about cancer is common and is likely to have negative psychological health consequences for patients, yet the connection between topic avoidance and psychological well-being is not well understood. This study of women with breast cancer examined coping behaviors as mediating mechanisms through which their cancer-related topic avoidance might affect their psychological distress. Consistent with predictions, greater levels of patient topic avoidance were associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety. Results indicated that topic avoidance may decrease patients' use of emotional support and increase patients' self-blame, each of which may lead to higher levels of psychological distress.

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