Thought suppression and thought intrusion in women undergoing breast cancer treatment: Relationships to distress and medical prognosis

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Charles S. Carver - Committee Chair


This study examined the experience of women during the first year after their diagnosis and treatment for early stage breast cancer. The use of thought suppression and denial as initial coping responses was associated with subsequent thought intrusion and to psychological and emotional distress. Evidence indicates that the mediating effects of thought intrusion may be the link in the relationship between suppression/denial and distress. There was some evidence that the affective content of the intrusions--positive versus negative content--differentially affects or moderates the level of subsequent distress.Active thought (attention) was also found to be associated with higher levels of intrusion and greater emotional distress. Attention and suppression were found to be positively related in the experience of these breast cancer patients.The hypothesized association of psychosocial variables to disease recurrence was not supported.


Health Sciences, Mental Health; Health Sciences, Medicine and Surgery; Psychology, Clinical

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