Greater Post-Surgical Pain Predicts Long-Term Depressed Affect in Breast Cancer Patients: The Role of Coping.
Depressed affect is observed during primary treatment for early-stage breast cancer and often persists into survivorship. Pain can influence the long-term emotions of women with breast cancer. Behavioral mechanisms explaining this relationship are less clear. Coping during primary treatment may play a role in the association between pain and depressed affect.
Our observational study examined a longitudinal mediation model testing whether post-surgical pain intensity predicted depressed affect 5 years later via disengagement and/or engagement coping at the end of treatment.
= 240) with stage 0-III breast cancer completed measures of pain, coping, and depressed affect 4-10 weeks post-surgery, and 12 months and 5 years later.
Structural modeling yielded measurement models of 12-month disengagement and engagement coping. Direct effects emerged between post-surgical pain intensity and 12-month disengagement (β = .37, p
< .001) and engagement coping (β = .16, p
< .05). Post-surgical pain intensity was also related to 5-year depressed affect (β = .25, p
< .05). Disengagement and engagement coping were not associated with depressed affect at 5-year follow-up, and there was no evidence of mediation.
This is a secondary analysis of data from a trial conducted several years ago, and may not generalize due to a homogenous sample with attrition at long-term follow-up.
Greater post-surgical pain intensity predicts more disengagement and engagement coping at the end of primary treatment, as well as depressed affect during survivorship. Managing post-surgical pain may influence the emotions of survivors of breast cancer up to 5 years later, possibly through coping or non-coping processes.
Fisher, HM; Taub, CJ; Lechner, SC; Antoni, MH
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