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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mechanisms of navigating goals after testicular cancer: meaning and emotion regulation

  • Author(s): Hoyt, MA
  • Nelson, CJ
  • Darabos, K
  • Marín-Chollom, A
  • Stanton, AL
  • et al.

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Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Objective: The navigation of major life goals can be challenging to cancer survivors, particularly during young adulthood. This study examined the relationships of goal navigation skills (e.g., goal identification, goal clarification, and goal adjustment) with having a sense of life meaning, emotion regulation coping processes, and physical and psychological health indicators in young adult survivors of testicular cancer. Methods: Men ages 18 to 29 years (N = 171; M age = 25.2, SD = 3.32) with a history of testicular cancer were recruited via the California State Cancer Registry and completed questionnaire measures including assessments of goal navigation, sense of meaning, emotional approach coping, and indicators of physical and psychological well-being. Results: Goal navigation skills were negatively related to depressive symptoms (r = −0.41, p < 0.01) and positively related to physical functioning (r = 0.28, p < 0.01). Controlling for participant age and months since diagnosis, mediation models revealed significant indirect effects of sense of meaning on depressive symptoms (−0.50, p < 0.05) and physical functioning (0.34, p < 0.05). Similarly, emotion-regulating coping had significant indirect effects on depressive symptoms (−0.08, p < 0.05) and physical functioning (0.11, p < 0.05). Conclusions: Consistent with a self-regulation framework, goal navigation skill is related to physical and psychological well-being via its association with maintenance of a sense of meaning as well as successful attempts at regulation of emotions. The study provides preliminary evidence that these skill-based processes relate to adjustment to cancer in young adults. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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