Carver, C. S., Meyer, B., & Antoni, M. H.  (2000). Responsiveness to threats and incentives, expectancy of recurrence, and distress and disengagement:  Moderator effects in early-stage breast cancer patients.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,  68, 965-975..

Models of neurobiological systems linking personality, motivation, and emotion can be integrated with the expectancy construct to suggest hypotheses about distress and giving up in response to adversity.  In 220 breast cancer patients, we measured threat responsiveness—sensitivity of the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS)—and incentive responsiveness—sensitivity of the Behavioral Activation System (BAS)—and expectancies about cancer recurrence. We predicted and found that High BIS sensitivity interacted with recurrence expectancy to predict elevated distress and disengagement. Low BAS sensitivity (Reward responsiveness) also interacted with expectancy of recurrence to predict elevated disengagement.  In contrast, high BAS sensitivity (Fun seeking) interacted with expectancy to predict elevated distress. Discussion centers on theoretical implications and possible applications.

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University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology