University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-415
Number of pages8
JournalStress and Health
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


The psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis can extend through treatment, well into cancer survivorship and can be influenced by a range of psychosocial resources. At different stages in this trajectory, optimism is known to affect well-being directly. This study focusing upon the potential to flourish after cancer, investigates the relationship between optimism and positive affect during cancer survivorship together with four possible mediators: social support, fighting spirit, internal health locus of control and cancer worry, all of which have been shown to be important predictors of well-being in cancer patients. Participants (n = 102) from online cancer forums completed standardized questionnaires, and path analysis confirmed that optimism had a direct effect on positive affect in cancer survivors. Social support and fighting spirit were also shown to be significant mediators of this relationship, accounting collectively for 50% of the variance in positive affect. Whilst cancer worry and internal health locus of control could be predicted from levels of optimism, they did not mediate the optimism-positive affect relationship. Efforts to promote optimism and thus encourage fighting spirit at diagnosis through treatment may be worthwhile interventions, as would ensuring appropriate social support through the trajectory.

ID: 21419455