Does resolution of prior stressful events predict adaptive coping and adjustment in cancer survivors

Date of Completion

January 2009


Psychology, Clinical




This study modeled relationships among lifetime stressful events, resolution of these events, and coping with adjustment (positive and negative affect, cancer intrusions, number of stressful events) in cancer survivors. Participants were originally 250 cancer survivors (69% women; mean age-45.2; 11% minority). The average time since primary treatment was 2 years. Cancer survivors' stressful events were frequent (82% had experienced at least one). Cross-sectionally, the structural equation model (SEM) indicated that both the number of stressful events and the stressfulness of the event were predictive of increased resolution/lower stress at Time 1. Further, those with more resolution/lower stress used less avoidant coping in dealing with their cancer and had less negative affect (NA) at Time 1. The overall model had acceptable fit with χ2=143.7 (df=97, p<.01), PCLOSE=.53, CFI=.96, and RMSEA=.049. Longitudinally, SEM results revealed that the survivors' resolution of their most stressful event was not predictive of PA or NA; this was partly due to moderation effect of resolution. Finally, those with more resolution had less cancer intrusions and fewer stressful events longitudinally. The longitudinal model also evinced acceptable fit with χ2=268.5 (df=207, p<.01), PCLOSE=.94, CFI=.96, and RMSEA=.038. Findings from this study suggest several areas for intervention, as well as suggestions for future research.^