Degree Granting Department
Psychological and Social Foundations
Bahamas, career decisions, dysfunctional, occupation, survival rate
This study investigated the relationship of dysfunctional career thoughts, optimism, and spirituality on Bahamian women (n=212) diagnosed with breast cancer. Also, it examined how optimism mediates the relationship between spirituality and dysfunctional career thoughts. The diagnosis of breast cancer impacts women physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually, financially, and in their career development. Career developmental plans and decisions are continuously being made. However, plans may become altered and decisions more difficult to make when a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer as she considers returning to work. The high survival rate of breast cancer patients indicates women may continue to work after their treatment. Limited information is known about possible changes in their dysfunctional career thoughts. This research investigated the degree to which optimism mediates the relationship between spirituality and dysfunctional career thoughts among a sample of Bahamian women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Negative thoughts formed in career content are called dysfunctional career thoughts (Lenz, Sampson, Peterson, & Reardon, 2012). Career thoughts are "...outcomes of one's thinking about assumptions, attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, feelings, plan and/or strategies related to career problem solving and decision making" (Sampson, Peterson, Lenz, Reardon, & Saunders, 1996, p. 2). The dysfunctional thinking causes one to block informing processing, reduces options, and distorts perception of options. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship among career thoughts, optimism, and spirituality. The goal is to identify low or high dysfunctional career thoughts. In addition, studies suggest that being optimistic (Matthew & Cook, 2009) and spiritual (Hackney & Sanders, 2003) are two positive coping strategies for women diagnosed with breast cancer. This study seeks to explore these two potential mediating factors on dysfunctional career thoughts of women with this diagnosis.
This study is important because of the high incidence rate of breast cancer in the Bahamas. Bahamian women have the highest recorded percentage of the recorded BRCA1 gene (BReast CAncer 1; a primary genetic marker for breast cancer) in the world (Donenberg et al., 2011). Breast cancer remains a public health issue that may affect the life and productivity of Bahamian women.
The relationship of dysfunctional career thoughts, optimism and spirituality of Bahamian women diagnosed with breast cancer was explored. Younger Bahamian women were noted to have experienced higher levels of dysfunctional career thoughts. While, marital status was statistically related with dysfunctional career thoughts, no pair wise differences were noted among the variables after a Tukey test. This means the level of dysfunctional career thoughts was not affected by women's marital status (married, not married, & divorced). Ethnicity and education did not play a role in their dysfunctional career thoughts but with employment pre-diagnosed of breast cancer. Results revealed women who were not employed pre diagnosis experienced higher dysfunctional career thoughts than women who were employed pre diagnosis. Other pre-diagnosis variables such as salary and occupation pre diagnosis show no statistically significant difference in terms of dysfunctional career thoughts. These variables did not affect the Bahamian women's dysfunctional career thoughts. In addition to pre-diagnosis variables being examined in this study post diagnosis variables such as employment, occupation, and salary were also explored. Final analyses indicate post diagnosis employment, occupation, and salary show no statistically significant difference in terms of dysfunctional career thoughts. These post diagnosis variables did not affect the Bahamian women's dysfunctional career thoughts. Although, post diagnosis employment was not statistical significant to dysfunctional career thoughts, some significance was noted. Women diagnosed with breast cancer 2007 or earlier accounted for 58% of the participants in this present study. We need to highlight that there was an 11% decrease in post-diagnosis employment which was higher than the unemployment rate (7.9%) in the Bahamas at that time (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). Therefore, this present study shows a significant effect rather than a statistical significant effect with Bahamian women's employment plans post diagnosis that indirectly affect their dysfunctional career thoughts.
The stages of breast cancer show no statistically significant difference in terms of the subscales of dysfunctional career thoughts such as Decision Making Confusion (DMC), Commitment Anxiety (CA), and External Conflict (EC). This means the stages of breast cancer did not influence the different subscales of dysfunctional career thoughts. Spirituality had a positive moderate relationship with the level of optimism. As women's spirituality level increases their optimism level also increased. Although optimism did not show a statistical difference with dysfunctional career thoughts, spirituality demonstrated a negative weak relationship with dysfunctional career thoughts. This inverse relationship indicates as their spirituality level decreases their dysfunctional career thoughts increases. Path analysis results explored the mediation among optimism, spirituality and dysfunctional career thoughts. Optimism was not noted to be a mediating variable that works together to positively affect spirituality and dysfunctional career thoughts. The impact of these results may be significant not only to the Bahamian population because of the first time study, but also in helping breast cancer survivors examine further career decisions even after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Scholar Commons Citation
Dames, Levette Subraina, "The Relationship Among Career Thoughts, Optimism, and Spirituality in Women diagnosed with Breast Cancer" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.