The negative relationship between uncertainty and quality of life is well reported in the literature. Also, there is abundant research linking coping strategies to cancer patients' quality of life. However, there exists a paucity of information on the moderating effect of coping styles on the relationship between uncertainty and quality of life in cancer patients.
The aim of this study was to examine whether uncertainty in illness is negatively correlated with quality of life and whether this relationship is moderated by coping strategies, namely, problem-focused, avoidant, and active emotional coping.
A convenience sample of 135 Malaysian women with breast cancer participated in the study. Participants completed measures of uncertainty in illness, quality of life, and coping styles.
Uncertainty in breast cancer was negatively related to quality of life (β = −0.379, P < .001), and active emotional coping was found to moderate this negative relationship (β = 0.155, P < .05). The model explained 22.20% of the variance of quality of life.
Lack of information about breast cancer, treatment, hospitalization, and disease recurrence is related to poorer quality of life. However, this negative relationship becomes weaker when active emotional coping strategies are used.
Implications for Practice
Nurses and health providers should help patients reduce their uncertainty in illness by providing them information on breast cancer or referring them to relevant sources. Moreover, they could reduce the deleterious effect of uncertainty on quality of life by encouraging patients to use more active emotional coping strategies.