Reducing discrepancies of personal goals in the context of cancer: A longitudinal study on the relation with well-being, psychological characteristics, and goal progress

Marlous R. Pama*, Moniek Janse, Mirjam A. G. Sprangers, Joke Fleer, Adelita V. Ranchor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To (1) examine whether reducing discrepancies between goal importance and goal attainability is an adaptive predictor of well-being, (2) investigate intrusion, awareness, optimism, and pessimism as determinants of reducing discrepancies between goal importance and goal attainability, and (3) explore how goal progress is involved in reducing discrepancies between goal importance and goal attainability during two major periods after a colorectal cancer diagnosis.

DESIGN: Prospective design.

METHODS: Newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients (n = 120) were interviewed three times: within a month, 7 months (treatment period), and 18 months (follow-up period) post-diagnosis. Data were analysed using multiple regressions.

RESULTS: Results showed that (1) reducing discrepancies enhances well-being, (2) optimism and pessimism are predictors of reducing discrepancies during the treatment period but not during the follow-up period, while intrusion and awareness do not predict reducing discrepancies in either period, and (3) goal progress is a predictor of reducing discrepancies during the follow-up period, but no evidence for a moderating or mediating role of goal progress in the relation between psychological characteristics and reducing discrepancies was found.

CONCLUSIONS: Reducing discrepancies between goal importance and goal attainability could benefit colorectal cancer patients' well-being. Optimism, pessimism, and goal progress appear to influence cancer patients' ability to reduce discrepancies. Providing assistance in improving goal progress to those who are less optimistic and highly pessimistic may be a suitable training for cancer patients to prevent deterioration in well-being. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? More discrepancy between goal importance and goal attainability is associated with lower levels of well-being. People are able to change evaluations of importance and attainability, but it is unknown whether this positively impacts well-being. Underlying causes of differences in the extent to which discrepancies between goal importance and goal attainability are reduced are unknown. What does this study add? This is the first study to show that reducing discrepancies between goal importance and goal attainability is beneficial for well-being. This is the first study to show that optimism and pessimism are determinants of reducing discrepancies between goal importance and goal attainability. Goal progress might be an effective target for interventions that aim to facilitate one's ability to reduce discrepancies between goal importance and goal attainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-147
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2018

Keywords

  • colorectal cancer
  • discrepancy
  • goal progress
  • goals
  • well-being
  • ILLNESS-RELATED GOALS
  • BREAST-CANCER
  • OPTIMISM-PESSIMISM
  • SELF-EFFICACY
  • ADJUSTMENT
  • LIFE
  • DIAGNOSIS
  • DISTRESS
  • MINDFULNESS
  • ATTAINMENT

Cite this