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Positive Psychology in Cancer Care: A Story Line Resistant to Evidence

Coyne, J. C., Tennen, H. & Ranchor, A. V. Feb-2010 In : Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 39, 1, p. 35-42 11 p.

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Aspinwall and Tedeschi (Ann Behav Med, 2010) summarize evidence they view as supporting links between positive psychological states, including sense of coherence (SOC) and optimism and health outcomes, and they refer to persistent assumptions that interfere with understanding how positive states predict health.

We critically evaluate Aspinwall and Tedeschi's assertions.

We examine evidence related to SOC and optimism in relation to physical health, and revisit proposed processes linking positive psychological states to health outcomes, particularly via the immune system in cancer.

Aspinwall and Tedeschi's assumptions regarding SOC and optimism are at odds with available evidence. Proposed pathways between positive psychological states and cancer outcomes are not supported by existing data. Aspinwall and Tedeschi's portrayal of persistent interfering assumptions echoes a disregard of precedent in the broader positive psychology literature.

Positive psychology's interpretations of the literature regarding positive psychological states and cancer outcomes represent a self-perpetuating story line without empirical support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages35-42
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Journal publication dateFeb-2010
Volume39
Issue1
DOIs
StatePublished
Total WOS citations46

Keywords

  • Positive psychology, Cancer, Immune functioning, Benefit finding, Post-traumatic growth, EXPRESSIVE GROUP-THERAPY, GROUP PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT, METASTATIC BREAST-CANCER, POPULATION-BASED COHORT, POSTTRAUMATIC GROWTH, DISEASE PROGRESSION, CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS, CLINICAL-TRIAL, IMMUNE-SYSTEM, SURVIVAL

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