Adjustment and discussion of cancer: A comparison of breast and prostate cancer survivors

Philip M. Ullrich, Nan E. Rothrock, Susan K. Lutgendorf, Peter R. Jochimsen, Richard D. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Supportive conversations may facilitate adjustment among cancer patients early in treatment. However, little is known about how cancer discussion is related to adjustment among long-term survivors of cancer or how gender differences may influence associations between cancer discussion and adjustment. The purpose of this study was to examine possible moderator effects of gender on associations between cancer discussions and adjustment among survivors of breast or prostate cancer. Eighty-eight breast and 88 prostate cancer patients were matched by years post-surgery and stage of cancer and completed measures of cancer discussion frequency, quality of life, and depression. Breast and prostate cancer patients differed on what cancer-related threats were discussed most frequently. In addition, among breast, but not prostate cancer patients, frequent cancer discussion was associated with higher depression and lower quality of life. Frequent discussion of cancer may be an indication of poorer adjustment among breast cancer patients at nearly four years post-surgery. The nature and context of cancer discussions may be important determinants of whether cancer discussions relate to adaptive versus maladaptive outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-406
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Breast cancer
  • Depression
  • Disclosure
  • Discussion
  • Gender
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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