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Quality of life may impact coping strategies of young women with breast cancer
Date:3/24/2009

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Numerous studies have shown a relationship between coping strategies and quality of life (QOL) among women with breast cancer. In a study published today in the online edition of Journal of Behavioral Medicine, an investigation of coping strategies and quality of life among younger women with breast cancer suggests that QOL determines the use of coping strategies.

"It is generally assumed that coping strategies impact quality of life, with more active coping strategies generally associated with better QOL," said Suzanne C. Danhauer, Ph.D., assistant professor at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and lead investigator of these analyses. This investigation was part of a study focused on younger women with breast cancer conducted by co-author and Principal Investigator Nancy E. Avis, Ph.D. The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute. "This research examined coping strategies over time and the reciprocal relationship between coping strategies and QOL among younger women with breast cancer to see if the opposite might be true -- that QOL determines the use of coping strategies," said Danhauer.

Studies have consistently shown that younger women report greater psychological distress following breast cancer diagnosis than older women. Several investigations have also found that younger women with breast cancer report significantly worse QOL than older women, particularly in emotional and social domains.

From a developmental perspective, younger women face unique issues such as premature onset of menopause that may lead to infertility, sudden onset of vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and/or night sweats) and long-term consequences of ovarian decline; changes in relationships with one's partner and/or children; multiple role demands of parenthood and career, and greater concerns about body image and sexuality.

Participants in the study, "A Longitudinal Investigation of Coping Strategie
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Contact: Jonnie Rohrer
jrohrer@wfubmc.edu
336-716-6972
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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