The Impact of Mastectomy on Self-Concept and Social Function
DOI: 10.1300/J013v11n03_08
Title: The Impact of Mastectomy on Self-Concept and Social Function
Journal Title: Women & Health
Volume: Volume 11
Issue: Issue 3-4
Publication Date: February 1987
Start Page: 101
End Page: 130
Published online: 26 Oct 2008
ISSN: 0363-0242
Author: Doris T. Penman PhDa, Joan R. Bloom PhDb, Sophia Fotopoulos PhDc, Mary R. Cook PhDd, Jimmie C. Holland MDe, Christopher Gates MD, Daphne Flamer PhDf, Benjamin Murawski PhDg, Robert Rossh, Ursula Brandt PhDi, Larry Muenz PhDj, David Pee & M. Phil
a Deputy Director, Ulster County Mental Health Services, Kingston, NY
b Professor, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA
c Director, Research Grants and Contracts, American University, Washington, DC
d Head , Biobehavioral Science Section, Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City, MO
e Professor, Chief, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Service, Cornell University Medical College, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
f Manager, Shaklee Corporation
g Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Bringham and Women's Hospital
h American Healthway Systems
i Assistant Professor of Psycology, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medicine School
j Gaithersburg, MD
Abstract: Self-concept and social function following radical, modified radical or simple Mastectomy for Stage I or II breast cancer, breast biopsy for benign breast disease, cholecystectomy or no operative procedure were measured across a fifteen-month period in a cross-sectional design and across a twelve-month period in a repeated measures design. Women selected for study were without other preexisting mental or physical illness. The degree of disability observed following Mastectomy was considerably less than previously reported in uncontrolled studies, with the incidence of actual disturbance extremely small. Women receiving adjuvant therapies following Mastectomy, but not women treated by Mastectomy alone, reported significantly more body-image dissatisfaction and feminine selfimage concerns than the comparison groups. The findings refute previously published impressions of severe psychosocial maladjustments following Mastectomy. The study suggests that post-Mastectomy women vulnerable to poorer outcome would be those with lower expectations of good quality social support, other present life stressors, other pre-existing chronic diseases, and a disposition to believe in life outcomes as less under their own control.

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