Objective: This study aimed to examine whether self-efficacy to cope with cancer changes over time in patients with breast cancer and whether these potential changes are similar across patients. It also aimed to examine whether these trajectories are related to patient psychological well-being and overall quality of life. Methods: Participants (N = 404) from four countries (i.e. Finland, Israel, Italy, and Portugal) were enrolled in the study few weeks after breast surgery or biopsy. Self-efficacy to cope with cancer was assessed at baseline, six and 12 months later. Well-being indices were assessed at baseline, 12 and 18 months later. Results: Using Latent Class Growth Analysis, two groups of patients were identified. The majority of patients reported high levels of self-efficacy to cope, which increased over time. For almost 15% of the patients, however, self-efficacy declined over time. Diminishing levels of self-efficacy to cope predicted worse levels of well-being. The pattern of self-efficacy changes and their relationships to well-being was consistent across countries. Conclusion: Monitoring self-efficacy to cope with cancer is probably important in order to detect alarming changes in its levels, as a declining self-efficacy to cope may serve as a signal of the need for intervention to prevent adaptation difficulties.
- Breast cancer
- adaptation to cancer
- illness perceptions
- self-efficacy to cope with cancer
- trajectories across time