Conceptualization of disease timeline predicts posttreatment distress in breast cancer patients

Carolyn Rabin, Howard Leventhal, Susan Goodin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


A sample of 69 breast cancer patients was assessed before and after cessation of treatment to determine the predictors of posttreatment distress. Patients were assessed approximately 6 weeks before completing chemotherapy treatment, 1 month after completing treatment, and 3 months after completing treatment. Results indicate that timeline beliefs are related to distress: Patients who conceptualize their cancer as a chronic of cyclic illness are more anxious, depressed, and worried about a recurrence than patients who conceptualize their cancer as an acute illness. These findings hold true even while controlling for disease stage. The way patients conceptualize their illness appears to be more influential in determining levels of posttreatment distress than objective indicators of the likelihood of recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-412
Number of pages6
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Posttreatment
  • Timeline


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