Coping Strategies and QOL
A new article from Johns Hopkins reports a study by Nancy Avis, PhD and her colleagues examining the relationship between coping strategies and QOL (quality of life) for younger women with breast cancer. Their theory was that QOL drives coping, rather than the other way around.
"Results of the study revealed that coping strategies in younger women changed over time. Seeking social support, spirituality, wishful thinking, and making changes decreased over time and detachment increased. Positive cognitive restructuring (reinterpreting something stressful as positive or helpful) was the most frequently used coping strategy and its use remained high over time. Keeping feelings to oneself was the least used coping strategy and its use remained consistently low over time.
The reciprocal relationship between QOL and coping strategies during the year following diagnosis showed an interesting pattern. Coping at one time point showed little predictive value of subsequent QOL. However, poorer QOL was a significant predictor of greater use of several coping strategies (seeking social support, keeping feelings to self and wishful thinking) at subsequent time points. This finding suggests that people adapt their coping strategies in response to problems with which they are dealing."
I think that these findings also suggest that our lives change and that we can all anticipate having good times and some harder times. Part of the message is that, even if there are days when life feels hard, there likely will be days when life seems much easier. When we are in the middle of a tough time, it is easy to imagine it will last forever. It won't.