A meta-analytic review of the relationship of cancer coping self-efficacy with distress and quality of life

Andrea Chirico, Fabio Lucidi, Thomas Merluzzi, Fabio Alivernini, Michelino De Laurentiis, Gerardo Botti and Antonio Giordano _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:36800-36811. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15758

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Andrea Chirico1,6, Fabio Lucidi1, Thomas Merluzzi2, Fabio Alivernini3, Michelino De Laurentiis4, Gerardo Botti5 and Antonio Giordano6,7

1 Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, University “La Sapienza” of Rome, Naples, Italy

2 Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA

3 National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education System, Rome, Italy

4 Dipartimento di Senologia, SC Oncologia Meduca Senologica, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione “G. Pascale”, Naples, Italy

5 Dipartimento di Patologia Diagnostica e di Laboratorio: SC di Anatomia Patologica e Citopatologia, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione “G. Pascale”, Naples, Italy

6 Sbarro Health Research Organization, Philadelphia, PA, USA

7 Deparment of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Siena, Italy

Correspondence to:

Antonio Giordano, email:

Keywords: cancer, self-efficacy, coping, meta-analysis, quality of life

Received: January 09, 2017 Accepted: January 25, 2017 Published: May 30, 2017


Self-efficacy for coping with cancer is a specific construct that refers to behaviors that occur in the course of dealing with a cancer diagnosis, cancer treatments, and transitioning to survivorship. One of the more widely used measures of self-efficacy for coping strategies with cancer is the Cancer Behavior Inventory. The following general questions provide a framework for this research: 1. Is self-efficacy for coping with cancer related to distress and quality of life of a cancer patient?. 2. Do self-efficacy for coping with cancer and the target psychological outcomes (i.e., distress and quality of life) change in longitudinal studies, with or without intervention? One-hundred eighty studies cited the different versions of the Cancer Behavior Inventory and 47 used the scale. Result showed an inverse relationship between self-efficacy for coping with cancer and distress, and a positive relationship between self-efficacy for coping with cancer and Quality of Life, both with a large effect size. The strong relationship of self-efficacy and outcomes, resulted of the specificity of the instrument, which targets specific coping strategies that are closely aligned with positive outcomes in adjusting to cancer. However, the results are consistent with the theory, which states that compared to those with low efficacy, highly efficacious people demonstrate less anxiety and better adjustment in stressful situations and consistent with prior results in which self-efficacy is positively related to quality of life.

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