The impact of illness perceptions and coping strategies on use of supportive care for cancer

Peta Stephenson, Eva Yuen, Gemma Skaczkowski, Evelien R. Spelten, Sheina Orbell, Carlene Wilson

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Despite evidence that survivorship support programmes enhance physical and psychosocial wellbeing, cancer patients and survivors often do not use these supportive care services. This study investigated the utility of the Common Sense Model of Self-Regulation for predicting supportive care use following cancer, and the mediating role of coping strategies. Cancer patients and survivors (n = 336 from Australia, n = 61 from the UK; 191 males, 206 females) aged 20–83 years (Mean (M) = 62.73, Standard Deviation (SD) = 13.28) completed an online questionnaire. Predictor variables were cognitive and emotional representations of cancer, as measured by the Illness Perception Questionnaire—Revised (IPQ-R), and problem-and emotion-focused coping strategies, as measured by the Brief-Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced inventory (Brief-COPE). The outcome variable was survivorship support programme use within the preceding month. Perceived personal control over cancer predicted supportive care use, but cancer-related emotional distress did not. Coping was an inconsistent mediator of the relationships. Problem-focused coping mediated the relationship between personal control and supportive care use; emotion-focused coping did not mediate between emotional responses to cancer and the uptake of survivorship support programmes. The Common Sense Model provides a useful framework for understanding survivorship support programme use. However, more clarity around the relationship between illness beliefs and coping is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2501
Number of pages14
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Common sense model of self-regulation
  • Coping
  • Illness perceptions
  • Leventhal
  • Oncology care
  • Supportive care
  • Survivorship support programmes


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