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Mindfulness and quality of life among breast cancer survivors: the mediating role of self-kindness and alexithymia

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Allison Forti (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Craig Cashwell

Abstract: Breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer for women. The American Cancer Society estimated that approximately 192,000 women were diagnosed with new cases of breast cancer in 2009. Fortunately, the current five-year survival rate for early stage breast cancer is 98% (ACS, 2009). This means many women diagnosed with breast cancer will become survivors. Although transitioning from being a cancer patient to a cancer survivor may be a welcome milestone, it also comes with unpleasant side effects that can negatively impact quality of life (Allen, Savadatti, & Levy, 2009). The primary purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among mindfulness, quality of life, alexithymia, and self-kindness in breast cancer survivors. A total of 133 Stages 0 to III breast cancer survivors participated in the study. Mindfulness, quality of life, self-kindness, and alexithymia were measured using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast, the Self Compassion Scale, and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale. A causal path analysis indicated that mindfulness was a significant predictor of quality of life, but self-kindness and alexithymia were not significant mediators. Pearson Product Moment coefficients revealed significant relationships between the four study variables. An ANOVA found that stage of cancer significantly impacted quality of life for Stage 0 and Stage III breast cancer survivors. An ANOVA indicated no significant results for the type of surgery or time since completion of medical treatment on quality of life. The results suggest that mindfulness, self-kindness, and alexithymia are important factors to consider for quality of life in Stage 0 to III breast cancer survivors. Clinical implications exist for counselors. Further research investigating possible moderating effects of self-kindness and alexithymia is needed.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2011
Keywords
Alexithymia, Breast cancer, Mindfulness, Quality of life, Self-compassion, Survivors
Subjects
Alexithymia
Breast $x Cancer $x Psychological aspects
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
Emotions $x Health aspects
Quality of life