Cancer survivors employ distinct sets of coping behaviors that vary in their associations with psychological health and quality of life. However, existing research has largely focused on white and middle class subjects.
This study explores whether clusters with differing coping profiles could be identified among older African American cancer survivors and whether these profiles varied on cultural factors and physical, psychological, and relationship well-being.
Four hundred forty-nine older African American cancer survivors recruited from outpatient oncology clinics completed a questionnaire booklet containing the Ways of Helping Questionnaire (WHQ), the Brief Index of Race-Related Stress (IRRS), the Religious Involvement Scale, Mutuality Scale, and the Short Form 12 Health Survey Questionnaire (SF-12). A k-means cluster analysis was conducted using the WHQ.
Four distinct coping profiles were identified and labeled High Coping, Low Encouraging Healthy Behaviors, Low Coping and Strong/Distracting Behaviors. Coping profiles were associated with participant’s gender, age, and living alone. Controlling for these demographic differences, coping profiles were associated with religiosity, experiences with racism, and physical, psychological and relationship well-being.
The findings from this study lend support for examining coping profiles and health outcomes among African American cancer survivors. This research also suggests that these profiles vary on cultural factors. This information should prove useful to researchers as they develop culturally appropriate interventions for this underserved population.