Pain and Hope in Patients With Cancer: A Role for Cognition

Mei-Ling Chen, PhD, RN


Cancer Nurs. 2003;26(1) 

In This Article


This study found no difference in levels of hope between patients with cancer who have pain and those who do not. However, the perception or meaning ascribed to pain by patients with pain, rather than pain intensity, was significantly associated with their level of hope. In addition, perceived treatment effect, not disease stage, significantly influenced the hope level of patients with cancer. These findings demonstrate the role of cognition in the level of hope among patients with cancer, which agrees with the theory of illness representation proposed by Leventhal et al.[20] Future research should examine the associations between pain cognition and outcomes such as adherence to pain medication and emotional distress. Early identification of pain perceptions among patients with cancer also may provide an opportunity to educate them about cancer pain and correct their misconceptions about it. Interventional studies that focus on the patients' illness representation should be conducted to examine its effect on their level of hope.


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