Purpose: Although studies have demonstrated a protective role for benefit finding in psychological distress, little is known about how benefit finding leads to lower psychological distress. This study’s goal was to use a multiple mediator model to evaluate whether the effect of benefit-finding on depression was mediated by acceptance of cancer, acceptance of emotions, and received social support. Methods: One hundred seventy-four women recently diagnosed with gynecological cancer completed measures of perceived benefits from the cancer experience, acceptance-based strategies, social support, and depression. Using a cross-sectional approach, we analyzed a multiple mediator model with benefit-finding as the independent variable, depressive symptom severity as the outcome, and acceptance-based strategies and social support as mediators. Results: Acceptance-based strategies and social support significantly mediated the relationship between benefit-finding and depression. Emotional acceptance had the strongest mediational effect, controlling for the other two mediators. Conclusions: Helping women diagnosed with gynecological cancers identify benefits from their cancer experience may reduce depression by paving the way for them to accept their emotional reactions, accept life changes associated with cancer, and facilitate supportive reactions from family and friends. Future longitudinal research is needed to confirm whether gynecological cancer patients who perceive more benefits will feel less depressed later.
- Social support