The Role of Religious Support and External Locus of Health Control in Well-Being for Breast Cancer Survivors

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Factors that contribute to survivorship have been explored within ethnically diverse populations. African American women and Latinas are particularly vulnerable as they are least likely to survive a breast cancer diagnosis. Understanding the mechanisms that influence individuals’ quality of life and well-being may provide insight regarding survivorship. Considering the higher rates of religiousness among these groups, individuals’ religious perspectives may also be an important consideration in addressing these disparities. In a sample of 320 women (27.5% African American and 72.5% Latina) recruited from cancer registries, researchers used an archival data set to explore cultural perceptions of support and locus of control as underlying mechanisms that impact quality of life. It was hypothesized that religious support would be associated with higher well-being and moderate the relationship between internal locus of control and well-being. Furthermore, decreased chance locus of health control would be associated with higher well-being. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that although religious support was not a significant moderator, there was a main effect of religious support on well-being. In addition, decreased external locus of health control beliefs (i.e., chance control) were associated with higher well-being. These findings highlight the importance of nuancing cultural perceptions of support and control among breast cancer survivors and the impact of such perceptions on individuals’ adjustment to a breast cancer diagnosis.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)

First Advisor

Abernethy, Alexis D.

Document Type





Breast, Cancer, African American women, Hispanic American women, Quality of life




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