203 healthy adolescents were compared with 31 adolescent cancer patients on self-image, health locus of control, perception of illness, and knowledge of cancer. No differences were found between the patient and the control groups on self-image. Adolescents with cancer had significantly lower internal orientation scores and higher external health locus of control scores. The adolescent patients also perceived cancer to be significantly less severe and better understood by doctors and they believed that cancer patients had a higher probability of recovery compared with normals. No differences were noted on a knowledge of cancer test between groups. Support was found for the theory that cancer diagnosis does influence health perception but does not contribute to a lower self-image. Increased knowledge of cancer may benefit some patients in coping with their disease.

Authors

Robert N. Jamison. Thomas G. BurishSusan Lewis

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