Resilience in Adolescents with Cancer: Association of Coping with Positive and Negative Affect.

Murphy LK, Bettis AH, Gruhn MA, Gerhardt CA, Vannatta K, Compas BE
J Dev Behav Pediatr 38 646-653 10/01/2017


OBJECTIVE: To examine the prospective association between adolescents' coping with cancer-related stress and observed positive and negative affect during a mother-adolescent interaction task involving discussion of cancer-related stressors.

METHODS: Adolescents (age 10-15 years) self-reported about their coping and affect approximately 2 months after cancer diagnosis. Approximately 3 months later, adolescents and mothers were video recorded having a discussion about cancer, and adolescents were coded for expression of positive affect (positive mood) and negative affect (sadness and anxiety).

RESULTS: Adolescents' use of secondary control coping (i.e., acceptance, cognitive reappraisal, and distraction) in response to cancer-related stress predicted higher levels of observed positive affect, but not negative affect, over time.

CONCLUSION: Findings provide support for the importance of coping in the regulation of positive emotions. The potential role of coping in preventive interventions to enhance resilience in adolescents facing cancer-related stress is highlighted.

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