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Lerman Caryn Ph.D.; Rimer, Barbara Dr.P.H.; Blumberg, Barbara Sc.M.; Cristinzio, Suzanne M.S.; Engstrom, Paul F. M.D.; MacElwee, Norma R.N.; O'Connor, Karen R.N., M.S.; Seay, Janet M.P.H.
CANCER NURSING: October 1990
Original Article: PDF Only

This study was designed to determine (a) the relationship of coping style to cancer chemotherapy side efects and (b) whether coping style moderated the impact of a relaxation intervention on anxiety, depression, and nausea associated with chemotherapy. Forty-eight cancer patients were assigned randomly to receive either progressive muscle relaxation training before chemotherapy (experimental group) or standard care (control group). Spearman correlations indicated that a “blunting” or distraction-oriented coping style was associated with less anticipatory anxiety, less depression, and less nausea during and after chemotherapy. Spearman correlations also indicated that a “monitoring” or information-gathering coping style was associated with more anticipatory anxiety, and more nausea before and during chemotherapy. Although there was a signijicant effect of the relaxation intervention on posttreatment nausea, there were no other between-group differences. The results did suggest, however, that relaxation was efective in reducing anticipatory anxiety among “blunters,” but not “monitors,” perhaps because relaxation is a distraction strategy and therefore is consistent with a blunting coping style. The effects of coping and relaxation on pretreatment anxiety may have important implications, because anxiety is a key factor in classic conditioning models of anticipatory nausea and vomiting.

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