A spotlight on avoidance coping to manage fear of recurrence among breast cancer survivors in an eHealth intervention


Aurora NCORP


Background: Fear of recurrence (FoR) is prevalent among breast cancer survivors (BCS) and may be exacerbated by avoidance coping. This study examined BCS with avoidance coping and their engagement in a FoR eHealth intervention (FoRtitude).

Methods: BCS (N = 196) with elevated FoR participated in FoRtitude. Patient-reported measures assessed avoidance coping with FoR and baseline emotional and behavioral health. Intervention engagement was measured quantitatively (e.g., website logins, telecoaching attendance) and qualitatively (i.e., telecoaching notes).

Results: 38 BCS (19%) endorsed avoidance coping, which was associated with more severe post-traumatic anxiety-related symptoms and worse global mental health (ps < .05), but not anxiety (p = .19), depression (p = .11), physical health (p = .12), alcohol consumption (p = .85), or physical activity (p = .39). Avoidance coping was not associated with engagement levels (ps > .05) but did characterize engagement-related motivators and barriers.

Conclusions: Avoidance coping was not a barrier to FoRtitude engagement. eHealth delivery is a promising modality for engaging survivors with avoidance coping in FoR interventions.

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