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Age Differences in the Coping Strategies of Patients With Colorectal Cancer

Kang, Youngmi, PhD; Son, Heesook, PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000604
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Background Colon and/or rectum cancer (CRC) patients use various strategies to cope with their condition, and these can vary between age groups.

Objectives The aims of this study were to investigate differences between psychosocial/spiritual variables and coping strategies in CRC patients of different age groups (younger vs older) and to identify the predictors of coping for both age groups.

Methods A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted at 3 outpatient clinics in Korea. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Social Support Scale, and Self-Transcendence Scale were used to measure psychosocial and spiritual variables; the Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale was used to assess cancer-specific coping strategies.

Results Both younger and older patients who were psychologically distressed used more maladaptive coping. Individuals who received less social support from healthcare providers used more maladaptive coping strategies. For younger patients, self-transcendence was the only significant predictor of both adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies; for older patients, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score was the only significant predictor of maladaptive coping.

Conclusion Differences in psychological distress, social support, and self-transcendence due to age are important protective or risk factors for the use of coping strategies among CRC patients.

Implications for Practice Considering our findings, we encourage healthcare professionals to be aware of patients' coping strategies and take them into account when planning age-specific interventions related to coping, before hospital discharge.

Author Affiliations: College of Nursing Science, East-West Nursing Research Institute, Kyung Hee University (Dr Kang); and Red Cross College of Nursing, Chung-Ang University (Dr Son), Seoul, Republic of Korea.

This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2015R1C1A1A01054200) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology through the International Cooperative R&D Program.

The abstract will be presented at the conference of 25th Biennial Congress of the European Association for Cancer Research in Amsterdam, Netherland on June 30, 2018.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Heesook Son, PhD, Red Cross College of Nursing, Chung-Ang University, 84 Heukseok-Ro, Dongjak-Gu, Seoul 06974, Republic of Korea (hson@cau.ac.kr).

Accepted for publication February 13, 2018.

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