Ambivalence over emotional expression and intrusive thoughts as moderators of the link between self-stigma and depressive symptoms among Chinese American breast cancer survivors

William Tsai, Qian Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Due to successful public health campaigns, breast cancer has successfully transformed from a highly stigmatized illness to a philanthropically supported disease in the United States. However, Chinese American breast cancer survivors continue to experience high levels of self-stigma and associated negative mental health outcomes. In the present study, we examined the relations between self-stigma and depressive symptoms, and further tested individual difference variables such as ambivalence over emotional expression and intrusive thoughts that may exacerbate the harmful effects of self-stigma among this population. One hundred and twelve foreign-born Chinese breast cancer survivors living in the United States completed questionnaires measuring self-stigma, depressive symptoms, AEE, and intrusive thoughts. We found significant AEE × self-stigma and intrusive-thought × self-stigma interaction effects in predicting depressive symptoms. Specifically, the relationships between self-stigma and depressive symptoms were exacerbated among individuals with high levels of AEE and intrusive thoughts. Self-stigma represents a significant predictor of depressive symptoms among Chinese breast cancer survivors, and particularly so for individuals with higher levels of AEE and intrusive thoughts. The findings suggest that for interventions designed to reduce the negative mental health outcomes associated with self-stigma, targeting risk factors such as AEE and intrusive thoughts might be promising.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-460
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019

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Asian Americans
Survivors
Depression
Breast Neoplasms
Mental Health
Health Promotion
Individuality
Public Health
Population

Keywords

  • Ambivalence over emotion expression
  • Chinese American breast cancer survivors
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Self-stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

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abstract = "Due to successful public health campaigns, breast cancer has successfully transformed from a highly stigmatized illness to a philanthropically supported disease in the United States. However, Chinese American breast cancer survivors continue to experience high levels of self-stigma and associated negative mental health outcomes. In the present study, we examined the relations between self-stigma and depressive symptoms, and further tested individual difference variables such as ambivalence over emotional expression and intrusive thoughts that may exacerbate the harmful effects of self-stigma among this population. One hundred and twelve foreign-born Chinese breast cancer survivors living in the United States completed questionnaires measuring self-stigma, depressive symptoms, AEE, and intrusive thoughts. We found significant AEE × self-stigma and intrusive-thought × self-stigma interaction effects in predicting depressive symptoms. Specifically, the relationships between self-stigma and depressive symptoms were exacerbated among individuals with high levels of AEE and intrusive thoughts. Self-stigma represents a significant predictor of depressive symptoms among Chinese breast cancer survivors, and particularly so for individuals with higher levels of AEE and intrusive thoughts. The findings suggest that for interventions designed to reduce the negative mental health outcomes associated with self-stigma, targeting risk factors such as AEE and intrusive thoughts might be promising.",
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