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06-11-2015 | Uitgave 2/2016

Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2/2016

Personal responsibility, regret, and medical stigma among individuals living with lung cancer

Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Uitgave 2/2016
Kevin R. Criswell, Jason E. Owen, Andrea A. Thornton, Annette L. Stanton


Understanding the degree to which adults with lung cancer perceive personal responsibility for their disease, personal regret for actions that may have contributed to lung cancer, and potential stigmatization from others is important, because these perceptions and experiences may be linked with treatment nonadherence, feelings of isolation, avoidance of healthcare providers, and poor quality of life. The purpose of this study was to evaluate rates and intensity of these types of experiences and to characterize the extent to which they are linked with smoking status and psychological adjustment in those living with lung cancer. Adults with lung cancer (N = 213) were recruited from two major cancer centers to complete a mail survey. Perceived responsibility was frequent in those who had ever smoked (74–80 %), whereas regret and feelings of stigmatization were less frequent. When present, however, personal regret and stigmatization were associated with adverse psychological outcomes, particularly for never smokers. These results are consistent with the theory of stereotype threat and have clinical implications for management of people with lung cancer.

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