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Keywords:

  • trauma symptoms;
  • cancer;
  • diagnosis;
  • self-efficacy;
  • functioning

Abstract

This study examined the concurrent and longitudinal relationships between traumatic stress symptoms and demographic, medical, and psychosocial variables among women recently diagnosed with primary breast cancer. Participants were 117 women drawn from a parent study for women recently diagnosed with primary breast cancer. At baseline, the Impact of Event Scale (IES) total score was related to intensity of postsurgical treatment and lower emotional self-efficacy. At the 6-month follow-up, the IES total score was significantly related to younger age, to the increased impact of the illness on life, and to the baseline IES total score assessment. These results suggest that it is important to intervene for traumatic stress symptoms soon after the diagnosis of breast cancer. Furthermore, these results suggest women at greatest risk are those who are younger, who receive postsurgical cancer treatment, who are low in emotional self-efficacy and whose lives are most affected by having cancer.