Relationship of optimism-pessimism and health-related quality of life in breast cancer survivors

Larra R. Petersen, Matthew M. Clark, Paul Novotny, Simon Kung, Jeff A. Sloan, Christi A. Patten, Kristin S. Vickers, Teresa A. Rummans, Marlene H. Frost, Robert C. Colligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Few studies have investigated the influence of optimism-pessimism in breast cancer survivors. This study used a retrospective design with 268 adult women who completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) as part of their medical care approximately 10 years prior to their breast cancer diagnosis and Medical Outcome Study Short-Form General Health Survey (SF-36 or SF-12), on average, 8 years after diagnosis. MMPI pessimism scores were divided into quartiles, and t tests were used to determine differences between those highest and lowest in pessimism on health-related quality-of-life (QOL) measures, demographics, and disease status. The mean age at diagnosis of breast cancer was 63 years, and 74% had early-stage breast cancer. Patients age 65 years and older were significantly lower on physical health-related QOL scales. There were no significant differences in health-related QOL scores by stage of disease. Patients with a pessimistic explanatory style were significantly lower on all of the health-related QOL scores, compared to those with a nonpessimistic style. Breast cancer survivors who exhibit a pessimistic explanatory style report lower health-related QOL for years after receiving a cancer diagnosis, compared to nonpessimistic women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-32
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 3 2008


  • Cancer
  • Explanatory style
  • Optimism-pessimism
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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