"In this particular study, depressive symptoms are where we see the effect."
On the other hand, women who had trouble describing their emotions felt more anxious if they had less knowledge about their illness than did women with similar coping traits who had greater knowledge.
The study showed no indication that coping style and illness knowledge influenced the patients' physical quality of life.
Emery noted that the education patients receive about an illness is critical to keeping them informed about the best ways to maintain their health. So ensuring that patients receive the information in a way that preserves their emotional health is likely to encourage greater compliance with doctors' orders, he said.
"The longer-term purpose of this line of research is to better predict which patient is going to benefit from which kind of intervention," he said. "Even with a high-denial patient, we would still embrace using knowledge. But we might identify non-aversive ways of presenting them with the knowledge."
The researchers suggest in the paper that clinicians may want to consider using mindfulness strategies for patients who tend to repress anger or have trouble describing their feelings. This technique helps people monitor their emotional response and observe their thoughts without judgment, said Jackson, who has been trained to provide mindfulness-based interventions in a clinical setting.
"Mindfulness encourages people to be comfortable with living in the moment with whatever emotional experience they're having," she said. "If we can help patients do that, they might be more receptive to information about their condition, and mig
|Contact: Charles Emery|
Ohio State University