Adult self-image and well-being after testicular cancer: The role of agency and meaning

Cancer during young adulthood can limit the extent to which one adopts an adult self-image. However, the relationship of adult self-image to cancer-related adjustment remains unexplored. The current study examines relationships of adult self-image and social/emotional well-being and job-related problems in young testicular cancer survivors. Factors thought to facilitate future-oriented goals (i.e. agency and meaning) are examined as intermediary processes.

Testicular cancer survivors (N = 171) between the ages of 18 and 29 completed questionnaire measures of adult self-image, agency, sense of meaning and indicators of adjustment.

Social and emotional well-being were measured by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General. Job problems were assessed using the EORTC's testicular cancer supplement (EORTC QLQ-TC26).

Path model results revealed direct associations of survivors' adult self-image with social (β = .20, p < .05), but not emotional well-being (β = .14, p < .01). Both agency and meaning mediated the relationship of adult self-image and well-being indicators. Finally, the relationship between adult self-image and job problems was only significant for those who were employed or in school (β = -.19, p < .05).

Assessment of adult self-image might be useful in identifying risk for poor adjustment. Interventions that target agency and meaning might facilitate developmental goals.

Psychology & health. 2018 Mar 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Sean J Ryan, Michael A Hoyt

a Department of Psychology, Graduate Center of City , University of New York , New York , NY , USA.