Psychological risk factors for colorectal cancer?

S. Kreitler, M. M. Kreitler, A. Len, Y. Alkalay, F. Barak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The paper deals with personality correlates of colorectal cancer patients in the framework of the cognitive orientation theory. The cognitive-motivational approach and the construction and testing of a reliable and valid questionnaire for assessing the personality correlates of colorectal cancer are reviewed in the first part. In the second part in a new sample of 230 colorectal cancer patients the themes in the questionnaire are clustered and their structure is tested in a confirmatory factor analysis. Further, following the expectation that colorectal cancer is gender bound, the differences in the themes and belief types are applied to testing differences between men and women corresponding to the medical differences. Finally the questionnaire was applied to identifying the detected personality correlates in an attenuated form in a sample of Crohn's disease patients who are known to be at risk for colorectal cancer. Discriminant analysis showed that the questionnaire provided a highly significant correct identification of cases of the three groups (165 healthy controls, 90 patients with Crohn's disease and 230 colorectal cancer patients). The thematic clusters that constitute the personality correlates of colorectal cancer were found to be tendencies for compulsiveness, control of oneself and especially of anger, self effacement, pleasing others, self assertion, distancing oneself from others, keeping regulations, and performing to perfection all ones obligations. The three major foci of these tendencies are perfect duty performance, and two contradictory pairs: self effacement versus self assertion, and closeness to others versus distancing from others. The clusters and the contrasts constitute potentially sources of tension. It is suggested that the identified personality correlates be considered as psychological risk factors for colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-145
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive orientation
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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