Effects of Optimism, Social Support, Fighting Spirit, Cancer Worry and Internal Health Locus of Control on Positive Affect in Cancer Survivors: A Path Analysis

Kayleigh Kwah, Sue Winstanley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    33 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis can extend through treatment, well into cancer survivorship and can be influenced by a range of psychosocial resources. At different stages in this trajectory, optimism is known to affect well-being directly. This study focusing upon the potential to flourish after cancer, investigates the relationship between optimism and positive affect during cancer survivorship together with four possible mediators: social support, fighting spirit, internal health locus of control and cancer worry, all of which have been shown to be important predictors of well-being in cancer patients. Participants (n = 102) from online cancer forums completed standardized questionnaires, and path analysis confirmed that optimism had a direct effect on positive affect in cancer survivors. Social support and fighting spirit were also shown to be significant mediators of this relationship, accounting collectively for 50% of the variance in positive affect. Whilst cancer worry and internal health locus of control could be predicted from levels of optimism, they did not mediate the optimism-positive affect relationship. Efforts to promote optimism and thus encourage fighting spirit at diagnosis through treatment may be worthwhile interventions, as would ensuring appropriate social support through the trajectory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)408-415
    Number of pages8
    JournalStress and Health
    Volume28
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • cancer
    • optimism
    • positive affect
    • well-being
    • social support
    • fighting spirit;
    • internal health locus of control
    • cancer worry

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