Psychosocial Risk Factors of Cancer Diseases: How Specific Are They?


The paper presents the psychological correlates of colorectal cancer patients in the framework of the cognitive orientation (CO) theory. According to this cognitive-motivational approach the major factors responsible for disease are a pathogene, background factors and a physiological program implementing the disease processes. Psychological factors form a part of the background factors. They consist of specific cognitive contents forming a motivational disposition, representing four types of beliefs referring to specific contents. The cognitive contents are assessed by a CO questionnaire. Previous studies showed that the CO questionnaire differentiated significantly between colorectal cancer patients and healthy controls in two samples, as well as between both groups and Crohn patients who have potential malignancy. The present study was designed to examine the specificity of the psychological variables characterizing colorectal cancer. The CO questionnaire was administered to male colorectal cancer patients and patients with prostate cancer and male healthy controls, and to female colorectal cancer patients, patients with breast cancer and healthy female controls. In both cases the scores of the CO questionnaire differentiated between the colorectal cancer patients and the two other groups, but there were no differences between the prostate cancer patients or the breast cancer patients and the healthy controls. These findings confirm the hypothesis that the CO variables of colorectal cancer are disease specific and may be considered as psychological risk factors for colorectal cancer.

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Kreitler, S. , Kreitler, M. and Barak, F. (2013) Psychosocial Risk Factors of Cancer Diseases: How Specific Are They?. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 1, 81-86. doi: 10.4236/jss.2013.16013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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