Thirty-five women with metastatic breast cancer received a battery of baseline psychological tests; results were correlated with length of survival. Patients who died in less than one year from baseline were categorized as short-term survivors, while patients who lived for one year or longer were assigned to the long-term survivor group. The long-term survivors were more symptomatic overall, with particular elevations on measures of anxiety and alienation, and substantially higher levels of dysphoric mood (eg, depression, guilt) than the short-term survivors. Short-term survivors revealed significantly lower levels of hostility, with higher levels of positive mood. Treating oncologists perceived the long-term survivors to show significantly poorer adjustment to their illnesses than the short-term survivors, and an interviewer's ratings indicated that long-term survivors had significantly poorer attitudes toward their physicians. Measures of clinical status and demographic data revealed few differences between the two groups.
(JAMA 242:1504-1508, 1979)
Derogatis LR, Abeloff MD, Melisaratos N. Psychological Coping Mechanisms and Survival Time in Metastatic Breast Cancer. JAMA. 1979;242(14):1504-1508. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300140020016