Dispositional and Situational Avoidance and Approach as Predictors of Physical Symptom Bother Following Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Margaret R. Bauer, Lauren N. Harris, Joshua F. Wiley, Catherine M. Crespi, Jennifer L. Krull, Karen L. Weihs, Annette L. Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Few studies examine whether dispositional approach and avoidance coping and stressor-specific coping strategies differentially predict physical adjustment to cancer-related stress. Purpose: This study examines dispositional and situational avoidance and approach coping as unique predictors of the bother women experience from physical symptoms after breast cancer treatment, as well as whether situational coping mediates the prediction of bother from physical symptoms by dispositional coping. Method: Breast cancer patients (N = 460) diagnosed within the past 3 months completed self-report measures of dispositional coping at study entry and of situational coping and bother from physical symptoms every 6 weeks through 6 months. Results: In multilevel structural equation modeling analyses, both dispositional and situational avoidance predict greater symptom bother. Dispositional, but not situational, approach predicts less symptom bother. Supporting mediation models, dispositional avoidance predicts more symptom bother indirectly through greater situational avoidance. Dispositional approach predicts less symptom bother through less situational avoidance. Conclusion: Psychosocial interventions to reduce cancer-related avoidance coping are warranted for cancer survivors who are high in dispositional avoidance and/or low in dispositional approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-384
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Approach
  • Avoidance
  • Breast cancer
  • Coping
  • Physical symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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