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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Mediating Effects of Patients’ Stigma and Self-Efficacy on Relationships Between Doctors’ Empathy Abilities and Patients’ Cellular Immunity in Male Breast Cancer Patients

Ningxi Yang, Yingnan Cao, Xiaoyan Li, Shiyue Li, Hong Yan, Qingshan Geng

School of Health Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24: CLR3978-3986

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.910794

Available online: 2018-06-12

Published: 2018-06-12


BACKGROUND: Doctors’ empathy is closely related to patients’ health. This study aimed to examine whether patients’ stigma and self-efficacy play a mediating role in the relationship between doctors’ empathy abilities and patients’ cellular immunity in male patients with breast cancer.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Doctors’ empathy scores and patients’ demographic data, disease condition, stigma, and self-efficacy were measured. Patient T cell subset was tested at admission and 3 months after the operation and was compared by paired t test. The multivariate linear regression model was applied to analyze the factors influencing the immune index. Pearson correlation analysis and structural equation modeling were applied to explore the relationships among patients’ stigma, self-efficacy, and cellular immunity and doctors’ empathy abilities.
RESULTS: At the 2 time points, only the change in NK subset was statistically significant, while the changes in percentage of CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, and B cells were not statistically significant. The doctors’ empathy abilities were negatively correlated with patients’ stigma and were positively related to patients’ self-efficacy. Patients’ stigma was negatively related to NK subset, while self-efficacy was positively associated with NK subset. Patients’ stigma and self-efficacy played a mediating role in the relationship between doctors’ empathy abilities and patients’ NK subset, and stigma had a stronger effect than self-efficacy.
CONCLUSIONS: Doctors’ empathy abilities affected breast cancer patients’ NK subset through their stigma and self-efficacy. The mental health of male breast cancer patients need more attention and empathy education needs to be improved.

Keywords: Breast Neoplasms, Male, Empathy, Immunity, Cellular, Self Efficacy