The goal of this study was to identify distinct trajectories of adjustment to breast cancer over 4 years as well as to distinguish among the different trajectories. The mental and physical functioning of 287 women with breast cancer who remained alive and disease free through 4 years of follow-up were examined. The majority of women showed slight and steady improvement in functioning with time, but subgroups of women were identified who showed marked improvement and marked deteriorations over time. Age successfully distinguished different trajectories of physical functioning. Indices of personal resources (i.e., self-image, optimism, perceived control) and social resources (i.e., social support) successfully distinguished different courses of mental and physical functioning.
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