Naturalistically Observed Social Support and Optimism in Couples Coping with Breast Cancer
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractObjective: The goal of this study was to explore the relationship among self-reported optimism, naturalistic language use, daily receipt of social support, and self-reported depressive symptoms. Specifically, it investigated what implications the use of positive emotion words has for coping with breast cancer. Methods: The present project employed the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), an unobtrusive observation sampling method that periodically records snippets of ambient sounds, to track language use and social support in the daily interactions of breast cancer patients and their partners. Participants also completed self-reported measures of dispositional optimism and depressive symptoms. Results: Self-reported optimism correlated significantly with the use of positive emotion words among breast cancer patients. Naturalistically observed positive emotion words were also related to increased observed social support. Conclusion: These results offer preliminary support for the notion that positive emotion words are a linguistic indicator of optimism in breast cancer patients. There was also some evidence that optimistic individuals may be able to elicit social support via the use of positive emotion words. This is one of the first studies to examine the role of naturalistically observed language and social support in the context of optimism.
Degree ProgramHonors College