Charles S. Carver

Shaffer, K. M., Kim, Y., Llabre, M. M., & Carver, C. S. (2016). Dyadic associations between cancer-related stress and fruit and vegetable consumption among colorectal cancer patients and their family caregivers. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 39, 75-85.

This study examined how stress from cancer affects fruit and vegetable consumption (FVC) in cancer patients and their family caregivers during the year following diagnosis. Colorectal cancer patients and their caregivers (92 dyads) completed questionnaires at two (T1), six (T2), and 12 months post-diagnosis (T3). Individuals reported perceived cancer-related stress (CRS) at T1 and days of adequate FVC at T1 through T3. Both patients and caregivers reported inadequate FVC during the first year post-diagnosis. Latent growth modeling with actor-partner interdependence modeling revealed that, at T1, one's own greater CRS was associated with one's partner having fewer concurrent days of adequate FVC (ps=.01). Patients' greater CRS predicted their own more pronounced rebound pattern in FVC (p=.01); both patients' and caregivers' CRS marginally predicted their partners' change in FVC (p=.09). Findings suggest that perceived stress from cancer hinders FVC around the diagnosis, but motivates positive dietary changes by the end of the first year.

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