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Emotional expression and coping style in female breast cancer.

  • Autori: Manna, G.; Foddai, E.; DI MAGGIO, M.; Pace, F.; Colucci, G.; Gebbia, N.; Russo, A.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2007
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Background: The study of the relationship of emotional status and tumor etiology has been investigated in order to elaborate a multifactorial model able to provide an answer integrating the different disciplines on cancer. The aim of this work is to investigate the knowledge on the alexithymia construct, exploring the presence of such trait in women affected by mammary carcinoma and analyzing the used coping strategies. The study has also examined personal thoughts related to event control (locus of control). Method: The Toronto Alexithymia Scale, Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced, and Locus of Control questionnaires were administered to a group of 86 women aged 31–55 years (mean = 43.7; SD 6.57)—experimental group (N = 44): women with breast cancer diagnosed in the last 6 months; control group (N = 42): women without oncologic pathology, referred at the aforementioned institutions to undergo a breast check-up. Results: According to our hypothesis and literature data, a significant presence of alexithymic subjects (36.4% versus 2.4%; v2 = 20.9; P < 0.0001) and a tendency to adopt coping strategies not focused on the problem were reported among women with mammary carcinoma. This causes incapability to act in order to actively contrast pathology-linked stress or to lower the effects. Conclusion: Our results indicate that the tendency to repress one’s emotions is associated to some general schemes of reaction to stress which, when used in a dysfunctional manner (such as the attempt to ignore how threatening an event is), are maladaptive in the end.