Coping styles in identifiers and nonidentifiers of a breast lump as a problem

Psychosomatics. Jan-Feb 1993;34(1):53-60. doi: 10.1016/S0033-3182(93)71927-1.


One hundred patients referred to a teaching hospital breast clinic for as yet undiagnosed breast masses were interviewed during their first visits and prior to assessment by a surgeon. Baseline measures of mental state and coping style were obtained. Despite the purpose of their visits, 74 of the patients were "nonidentifiers" of the breast lump as a problem on their initial contact with the clinic. All patients who were non-identifiers also used denial as a coping mechanism. Nonidentifiers used more than three times the number of avoidant coping mechanisms than "identifiers." Patients with a family history of breast cancer were more likely to be identifiers than those without a family history.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / classification
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Risk Factors