These results indicate that some of the worries young cancer survivors have expressed in qualitative studies with respect to dating are unwarranted. Our third hypothesis, that divorced and widowed people would be less interested in dating a cancer survivor was only supported for widowed people. However, interest of respondents in the healthy condition was also related to them seeing the person as more brave, whereas this was not the case in the cancer condition. Gender of the fictive student was matched by sexual orientation and pictures showed a close-up with a happy facial expression used from the Radboud Faces Database [ 51 ]. The male and female pictures were selected based on age comparable to the age of first year students and attractive looks. When young adult survivors start dating a new romantic partner, they can expect that others would prefer them to disclose this early on, specifically after a few dates. No significant effects were found for gender or the interaction of condition and gender. The Ethical Committee of the psychology department of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, approved of this study ppo These students, on average 19 years old, have probably seen many campaigns and posters providing them with success stories of survivors, while their real-life experience with cancer may be more limited. Men did not assess these traits differently between conditions. In order to improve upon this potential pitfall, we decided to include a profile picture in our second experiment.
Therefore, we hypothesized that students would be less interested in dating someone who has had cancer and is still under close medical monitoring as compared to a survivor who no longer regularly visits the hospital for check-ups related to the treatment of cancer. Univariate general linear model with condition beyond follow-up vs. We entered initial interest as measured in part 1, before illness disclosure as covariate. In early adulthood, other reasons for dating may prevail in comparison to older adulthood. They may have also lost their previous partner to cancer and may want to avoid going through such an experience again. Looks are an extremely important first trigger of interest [ 45 ]. To account for this, we first assessed interest in the person before learning about the cancer history to examine whether the disclosure of a cancer history would decrease this initial interest. It is possible that fear or distancing from a serious illness is larger when confronted with someone who is still having regular check-ups at the hospital, and therefore may be seen as not yet fully cured. No significant effects were found for gender or the interaction of condition and gender. Gender of the fictive student was matched by sexual orientation and pictures showed a close-up with a happy facial expression used from the Radboud Faces Database [ 51 ]. Although this experiment was done in a highly relevant context i. Our third hypothesis, that divorced and widowed people would be less interested in dating a cancer survivor was only supported for widowed people. Qualitative studies reported that young adult cancer survivors sometimes struggle with when and how to tell a potential new partner about their cancer history [ 22 , 50 ], but study findings from healthy partners perspectives are missing. These students, on average 19 years old, have probably seen many campaigns and posters providing them with success stories of survivors, while their real-life experience with cancer may be more limited. We expected to find the same difference for divorced people, but that was not the case. In order to improve upon this potential pitfall, we decided to include a profile picture in our second experiment. Students did not receive credits for their participation, but were informed that this study was part of their colloquium and that they would be informed about the results in an upcoming lecture. Women were found to be less interested in a date than men supporting our second hypothesis , but this gender difference did not depend on whether the potential partner had cancer or not. The online survey was presented to first year medicine students in the year following experiment 2. Some survivors use medication to lower the chance of recurrence. Therefore, we built upon experiment 2 and designed experiment 3 which we presented to students in the next academic year, and varied conditions based upon illness statuses: General linear model with condition and gender as fixed factors and the traits as dependent variables showed that survivors in the active follow-up condition were seen as more independent, less insecure, more friendly, less healthy, more experienced, and stronger than survivors in the beyond follow-up condition Table 4. After answering several questions, respondents were presented with part 2 of the profile, presenting either a story for the healthy condition lost best friend to cancer three years ago vs. In the beyond follow-up condition, participants were more interested in a date when they assessed the person as being more insecure and needy, whereas this was not the case in the active follow-up condition nor in the other conditions of experiment 2. Participants in the beyond follow-up condition were on average After being randomized, they again rated interest in a date, followed by ratings of the presented person on 10 traits i. After reading the first part of the scenario, respondents rated on a visual analog scale no 1 —yes 10 whether they would be interested in a date with this person initial interest.
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