Using two factor structures of the mental adjustment to cancer (MAC) scale for assessing adaptation to breast cancer

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The validity and reliability of two factor structures of the Mental Adjustment to Cancer (MAC) scale for assessing coping style was assessed by examining the relationship between the subscales, psychological distress, and quality of life (QOL) among Stage II and Stage IV breast cancer patients in four phases. First, MANOVAs assessed differences in coping, distress, and QOL across disease stages. Second, for each MAC factor structure, canonical correlation analyses assessed the relationship between coping styles, distress, and QOL, for each disease-stage group separately. Third, structural equation modeling (SEM) assessed the relationship among coping styles, distress, and QOL for all participants. Finally, the internal consistency of both MAC factor structures was assessed using Chronbach's alpha. The results were as follows: (1) significant differences across disease stages were found for coping styles using either the Watson or the Schwartz MAC subscales, but there were no differences in levels of distress or QOL; (2) for both MAC factor structures, coping style was found to be highly related to emotional distress and QOL, however, the strengths of the correlations between individual coping styles and distress/QOL indicators varied across disease stages; (3) SEM indicated that coping style was significantly related to distress and QOL when stage of disease was not considered, and that coping style and indicators of distress/QOL are separate, but highly correlated factors, as opposed to a single latent construct; and, (4) the Watson MAC subscales showed slightly better internal consistency than the Schwartz MAC subscales. Taken together, these findings highlight: (i) the validity of both MAC factor structures for clinical and research use with American breast cancer patients; (ii) the role of coping style as a mediator between disease stage and psychological distress and QOL; and, (iii)the need for refinement of certain Watson and Schwartz subscales.

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