Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Clinical.


Towson, Shelagh,




Forty-two breast cancer patients were interviewed to examine the relationship between psychological adjustment to breast cancer, current locus of control orientation, and treatment approach (i.e., amount of medical information received and degree of treatment participation). Specifically, the present study tested Reid's (1984) "congruence hypothesis" which suggests that a treatment approach congruent with locus of control orientation is associated with better psychological adjustment than a mismatched approach. Psychological adjustment was assessed with the profile of Mood States (McNair, Lorr, & Droppleman, 1971, 1992) and three subscales--emotional adjustment, sexual adjustment, and appearance satisfaction--of the Mastectomy Attitude Scale (Heyl, 1977). Locus of control, measured with the Cancer Health Locus of Control Scale (Dickson, Dodd, Carrieri, & Levenson, 1985), tapped internal, powerful other, and chance control expectancies. Treatment approach was evaluated by a series of questionnaire items. In addition, quantity, helpfulness, and reciprocity of social support networks were assessed with the Social Relationships Scale (McFarlane, Neale, Norman, Roy, & Streiner, 1981) to test for an interaction of locus of control and social support on adjustment. The congruence hypothesis was not supported. Strong chance beliefs were related to poorer adjustment, regardless of treatment approach. However, powerful other beliefs and treatment approach interacted, with increased information and participation associated with enhanced adjustment for women with stronger powerful other control beliefs. Powerful other beliefs also interacted with helpfulness of social support; increased helpfulness was associated with less mood disturbance for those with weaker powerful other beliefs. The implications of these findings for cancer patients and physicians were discussed.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1995 .K57. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 56-11, Section: B, page: 6395. Adviser: Shelagh Towson. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1995.