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Keywords:

  • breast cancer;
  • oncology;
  • attentional bias;
  • posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms;
  • posttraumatic growth

Abstract

Objective: To examine the effects of self-reported attentional bias on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and posttraumatic growth (PTG) through the potential mediator of cancer-related rumination.

Design: A cross-sectional survey design was used and women with breast cancer (N=170) were recruited.

Measures: Attentional biases, cancer-related ruminations, PTSD symptoms, and PTG were assessed.

Results: Negative attentional bias and negative cancer-related rumination were positively related to PTSD symptoms following cancer diagnosis and treatments, but they were not related to PTG. Positive attentional bias and positive cancer-related rumination were positively related to PTG, but positive attentional bias was not related to PTSD symptoms. Findings showed that negative cancer-related rumination partially mediated the relationship between negative attentional bias and PTSD symptoms, while positive cancer-related rumination partially mediated the relationship between positive attentional bias and PTG.

Conclusion: Findings support that there are differential trajectories to PTSD symptoms and PTG with respect to different valence of habitual attentional style and cancer-related rumination. They may serve as potential therapeutic leverages in the alleviation of PTSD symptoms and facilitation of PTG following cancer diagnosis and treatments. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.