Cancer-specific self-efficacy and psychosocial and functional adaptation to early stage breast cancer

Ann Behav Med. 2006 Apr;31(2):145-54. doi: 10.1207/s15324796abm3102_6.


Background: Although self-efficacy is considered a key psychological resource in adapting to chronic physical illness, this construct has received less attention among individuals coping with cancer.

Purpose: To examine changes in cancer self-efficacy over time among women with early stage breast cancer and associations between task-specific domains of self-efficacy and specific psychological, relationship, and functional outcomes.

Methods: Ninety-five women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer completed surveys postsurgery and 1 year later.

Results: Cancer-related self-efficacy was relatively stable over 1 year, with only 2 domains of efficacy-(a) Activity Management and (b) Self-Satisfaction-evidencing significant increases over the 1-year time period. Cross-sectional findings were relatively consistent with predictions and suggested that specific domains of self-efficacy were more strongly related to relevant domains of adaptation. Longitudinal findings were not as consistent with the domain-specificity hypothesis but did suggest several predictive associations between self-efficacy and outcomes. Personal Management self-efficacy was associated with higher relationship satisfaction, higher Communication Self-Efficacy was associated with less functional impairment, and higher Affective Management self-efficacy was associated with higher self-esteem 1 year later.

Conclusions: Specific domains of cancer-related self-efficacy are most closely related to relevant areas of adaptation when considered cross-sectionally, but further study is needed to clarify the nature of these relationships over time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Support*