The Role of Locus of Control and Attributional Style in Coping Strategies and Quality of Life among Iranian Breast Cancer and Colorectal Cancer Patients: A Pilot Study

Head of Danesh-e Tandorosti Institute, Isfahan, Iran AND Faculty Member, Energy Medicine University, California, USA

Department of Psychosomatic and Psychotherapeutic Medicine, University Hospital of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

Poursina Hakim Research Institution, Isfahan, Iran

Danesh-e Tandorosti Institute, Isfahan, Iran AND Energy Medicine University, California, USA


Background: The influence of various psychological factors and coping mechanisms on quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients has been well established. We evaluated locus of control and attributional styles, and their association with coping styles and quality of life (QOL) among Iranian cancer patients.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on patients with breast cancer and patients with colorectal cancer in stage I to III. Patients were assessed for demographic and disease characteristics, cancer-related symptoms, locus of control, attributional styles, coping styles, and QOL.

Results: From 140 invited patients, 100 patients participated in the study. Data of 55 patients with breast cancer and 22 patients with colorectal cancer were appropriate and included for analysis (mean age of 47.5 ± 7.9 years, 89.6% female). Factors positively associated with QOL included educational level, internal locus of control, overall hopefulness, and confrontive, optimistic, and self-reliant coping styles (r = 0.228 to 0.426). Factors negatively associated with QOL included age, symptoms severity, overall hopelessness, and fatalistic and emotive coping styles (r = -0.221 to -0.674). Internal locus of control and hopefulness were associated with confrontive/adaptive coping styles (r = 0.226 to 0.381), while external locus of control and hopelessness were associated with evasive/maladaptive coping styles (r = 0.208 to 0.381).

Conclusion: These results indicate that internal locus of control, hopefulness, and positive attributional styles are associated with more adaptive/confrontive coping strategies and better QOL in Iranian cancer patients. Further studies with more comprehensive psychosocial evaluation in a larger sample of cancer patients are warranted.


  • Cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Psychosocial
  • Coping
  • Health locus of control

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