Effects of age and marital status on emotional distress after a mastectomy

Loya F. Metzger, Theresa F. Rogers, Laurie J. Bauman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Although a large body of empirical literature exists on the psychosocial consequences of breast cancer and its treatment, scant attention has been paid to how various social characteristics affect adjustment after a mastectomy. In the research described in this article, regression analysis was used to assess how marital status affects the emotional recovery of mastectomy patients of different ages. Socioeconomic status, employment, and parental status were used as controls to permit a clearer understanding of how marital status affected women coping with this life crisis. Interviews conducted in 1979 with 652 women who underwent a mastectomy one year earlier revealed that although younger women are more likely to fear recurrence of the disease and to worry about disfigurement resulting from surgery, they apparently have resources that protect them against depression. Being married, generally believed to be a buffer against stressful life events, affords limited protection at best: Never-married women are significantly less likely to worry about recurrence and experience less depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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