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Women Health. 2003;38(2):65-76.

Measures and correlates of resilience.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.



We collected data on several aspects of resilience and related them to personal perceptions of breast cancer risk and worry about cancer.


As part of an ongoing series of studies to examine women's needs for and responses to breast cancer risk counseling, women with a family history of breast cancer (n = 357) completed questionnaires as part of their ongoing follow-up for counseling interventions. The questionnaire contained several measures of resilience: Optimism, the Life Attitude Profile-Revised, and single item scales measuring the worst to best possible life for past, present and future time periods. We also measured quality of life, social desirability, cancer worry, and personal perceived risk of breast cancer. We analyzed the relationships among resilience variables to determine the best measures of resilience from among the measures used. We then related resilience measures to breast cancer worry and risk.


Overall, the relationships among the resilience variables varied considerably. The average worst to best possible life ratings increased from past to present to future, and only current and future estimates were highly correlated (r = .62; p < 0.01). Optimism was not correlated with any other resilience variable, suggesting that it is measur- ing some other construct. None of the resilience measures were highly correlated with social desirability, indicating that resilience is not simply a measure of self-promotion. Quality of life measures correlated most highly with present life ratings (r = .54; p < 0.01). Perceived cancer worry and risk were negatively correlated with future and present life ratings, but at very low levels (r' s = -.20 and -.21; p < 0.001 for both). Analyses predicting risk and worry using a subset of resilience variables are presented.


These data will help to identify resilient women and how they view and manage their health risks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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