Clinical Psychology 12 (2019), 1-2, 67-81

Original scientific paper

Quality of life for patients with breast cancer: The role of alexithymia and defense mechanisms

Dora Popović - Faculty of Croatian Studies, University of Zagreb, Zagreb
Jelena Žipovski - Faculty of Croatian Studies, University of Zagreb, Zagreb
Lovorka Brajković - Faculty of Croatian Studies, University of Zagreb, Zagreb

Fulltext (croatian, pages 67-81).pdf

Patients who suffer from breast cancer often experience various mental issues, due to the diagnosis itself and its outcomes. The main purpose of this study is to determine the quality of life and certain psychological aspects of patients with breast cancer in Croatia. Forty-four patients diagnosed with breast cancer (mean age 61.1 years), who sought help in various clinics and organizations in Zagreb, were involved in this study. A self-assessment questionnaire consisted of the socio-demographic part and three clinical scales: Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20), Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ-40) and Short Form Health Survey (SF36). Results indicate low quality of some aspects of the patient’s lives, while linear regression analysis showed alexithymia to be a major predictor of various dimensions of life quality. Furthermore, alexithymia was a significant predictor in determining the perception of general health among patients suffering from breast cancer, and it has shown a greater incidence of using various immature defense mechanisms in patients with alexithymia. A more detailed explanation of these results, as well as implications for further research, are discussed.

breast cancer, quality of life, alexithymia, defense mechanisms

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