Objectives: To examine the effects of perceived body image and perceived control over life on physical and mental health of young and midlife adults with cancer.
Sample & Setting: A total of 49 young and midlife adults with cancer were recruited through a state cancer registry.
Methods & Variables: This study was a secondary analysis of data from a small study of young and midlife couples surviving cancer. Physical and mental health were measured with the SF-36®. Negative effect of cancer on body image and perceived control were measured with single items from the Life Impact Checklist.
Results: Most individuals reported a very negative to neutral effect of cancer on body image and a very negative to somewhat positive effect on perceived control. There were no significant differences by age or sex. Negative effect on body image was significantly associated with worse physical health. Negative effect on body image and perceived control over life were significantly associated with worse mental health.
Implications for Nursing: Nurses are uniquely placed to provide holistic care to individuals with cancer and facilitate support for those experiencing negative body image and perceived lack of control years after diagnosis.