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Health Psychol. 1996 Sep;15(5):323-31.

Longitudinal analysis of specific domains of internal control and depressive symptoms in patients with recurrent cancer.

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  • 1University Center for Social and Urban Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.


The relation between perceptions of control and depressive symptoms was examined in a longitudinal study of patients with recurrent cancer. Five domains of control (self-blame, control over cancer onset, control over symptoms, control over the course of the illness, and overall control over life events) were found to be independent of one another. In cross-sectional analyses, depression symptomatology was negatively correlated with illness course control, symptom control, and overall control. Cross-lagged longitudinal analyses using structural equation modeling suggested only onset control and overall control were significantly associated with depressive symptomatology over the 8-month interval. Greater baseline onset control predicted greater follow-up depression, whereas higher baseline depression predicted lower follow-up overall control. The importance of developing and using domain-specific measures of control and investigating the association of control and adjustment in longitudinal analysis are discussed.

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