Research Brief

Personality and Spirituality as Predictors of Mental Health and Salivary Alpha-Amylase Activity in Breast Cancer Survivors

Jennifer M. Hulett

Brick Johnstone

Rami J. Millspaugh

Joshua J. Millspaugh

biomarkers, breast cancer, mental health, personality, sAA, spirituality
ONF 2022, 49(4), 307-314. DOI: 10.1188/22.ONF.307-314

Objectives: To determine the relative predictive validity of personality and spirituality for mental health and salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) in breast cancer (BC) survivors.

Sample & Setting: 23 BC survivors participated in a single-group, cross-sectional study.

Methods & Variables: Predictor variables included personality and spiritual variables. Outcome variables included subjective physical and mental health outcomes and sAA, a neuroimmune biomarker.

Results: Hierarchical regressions indicated that (a) conscientiousness and forgiveness independently predict 38% and 11% of variance in mental health scores, respectively; and (b) conscientiousness and forgiveness independently predict 15% and 24% of the variance in sAA, respectively. Consistent with psychoneuroimmunology theory, personality and spiritual variables independently influence subjective mental health and neuroimmune activity in BC survivors.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses should be aware of BC survivors’ personality characteristics and spiritual dispositions so that distinct interventions can be offered to promote mental health and reduce stress-related neuroimmune inflammation.

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