Cancer Control Research5R03CA097916-02
Bettencourt, B. Ann
RURAL WOMEN BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): A significant proportion of women treated for breast cancer experience psychological distress. Often psychological distress can increase after treatment is completed. The literature reveals that social-relational and individual-difference variables are associated with psychological distress among breast cancer victims. The research to date, however, largely ignores rural women breast cancer survivors. The vast majority of studies include only urban women. By contrast, the proposed study aims to understand psychological adjustment among rural women surviving breast cancer. In doing so, it examines the psychosocial variables that influence rural women's psychological adjustment to breast cancer. Moreover, the study is designed to understand the pattern of these influences over time by using a longitudinal design. Based on broader theoretical models, the current application outlines model that predicts that a particular set of individual difference and social-relational variables (i.e., psychosocial variables) affect psychological adjustment among rural breast cancer victims. The proposed study is unique not only because it proposes a quantitative study of rural breast cancer survivors but also because it includes a relatively large number of participants. Of the few studies that have focused on rural breast cancer survivors, most have used qualitative methods and have included a relatively small number of participants. Moreover, the proposed study is unique because it incorporates a longitudinal design - a method used in only one study of rural women with breast cancer. Breast cancer patients will be recruited from three radiation oncology clinics in Mid-Missouri. Women interested in participating will receive a survey that includes social, personality, adjustment, and demographic indices. Recruitment will continue until a sample of 120 rural and 120 urban participants return this initial survey. These participants will then be sent additional surveys one month, three months, and six months after completion of their radiation treatment. Participants will be paid for their participation. It is expected that the results will show that specific psychosocial variables, identified as important for rural women, will be related to the psychological adjustment of rural breast cancer survivors. These psychosocial variables include coping processes, social-role functioning, social support, relations with health care staff, and health locus of control. The findings of the proposed study will begin to redress the problems associated with the dearth of literature on rural women with breast cancer. Moreover, the findings will supply information about the ways in which interventions can be structured to improve psychological adjustment among rural breast cancer survivors. Furthermore the proposed study will provide the foundation for a long-term research program for understanding cancer survivorship among rural people.