Matched and mismatched cognitive appraisals in patients with breast cancer and their partners: Implications for psychological distress

Silvia M. Bigatti, Jennifer L. Steiner, Nermin Makinabakan, Ann Marie Hernandez, Erica Johnston, Anna Maria Storniolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Backround The present study sought to identify couples' cognitive appraisals of breast cancer and the extent to which matched or mismatched appraisals within a couple contribute to distress. Methods Women with breast cancer (n = 57) and their partners completed the Cognitive Appraisals of Health Scale along with two self-report measures of distress, the Profile of Mood States and the Impact of Events Scale. Four groups were created based on their cognitive appraisals. Couples where both patient and partner scored highest on challenge or benign appraisals formed the positive outlook group (P+S+); when both scored highest on threat or harm/loss, they formed the negative outlook group (P-S-). In the mismatched groups, the patient had a positive outlook, and their partner had a negative outlook (P+S-), or vice versa (P-S+). Results In general, lower distress was related to participants' own positive outlook. Higher distress for patients was found in the matched group P-S-; for partners, it was found in the mismatched group P+S-. Conclusions These findings suggest partner effects for both patients and partners. When the patient had a negative outlook, a partner negative outlook was associated with the highest psychological distress. When the partner had a negative outlook, a patient positive outlook was associated with the highest psychological distress. There are several possible explanations for these findings, each with different implications for clinical practice. Future research with different groups of cancer patients and longitudinal, mixed methods designs may clarify their meaning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1236
Number of pages8
JournalPsycho-Oncology
Volume21
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012

Keywords

  • breast cancer couples
  • cognitive appraisals
  • distress
  • partner effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Matched and mismatched cognitive appraisals in patients with breast cancer and their partners: Implications for psychological distress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this