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Breast cancer, attachment to God, depression, anxiety, self-compassion
Background: In many of past studies, the role of God as an attachment figure in reducing psychopathological symptoms has strongly been confirmed. In an effort to account for the effectiveness of attachment to God in mitigating psychopathological symptoms in healthy people we came upon self-compassion as a potential mediating variable in this process. Hence, in the current research, we studied this relation in Iranian Muslim women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Methods: A total of 360 Muslim women diagnosed with breast cancer were asked to fill the Attachment to God Inventory, Self-Compassion Scale, and Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale. Data were analyzed using path analysis method with AMOS 22.
Results: The anxiety dimension of attachment to God was significantly correlated with the severity of anxiety, but the avoidance dimension had no direct effect on any of the symptoms. Also, the anxiety dimension was found to be positively correlated with depression and stress indirectly via self-compassion. However, in the case of the avoidance dimension, no such relationship was observed. As a result, attachment anxiety causes a decrease in self-compassion in this group of women, and this, in turn, results in more severe psychopathological symptoms like anxiety, stress, and depression.
Conclusion: Considering the results of this study, we conclude that improvements in the mental health of Muslim women diagnosed with breast cancer are not exclusively achieved by attachment to material symbols. Rather, attachment to God as a spiritual symbol can have a great impact on the mental health of these women. In fact, secure attachment to God can help improve mental health through positive effects on self-compassion and should be considered as a treatment in psychological interventions.
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