Colon cancer: Personality factors predictive of onset and stage of presentation

Michael G. Kavan, Brian E. Engdahl, Stephanie Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This study examined premorbid personality correlates of colon cancer and stage of presentation of colon cancer to health care providers. Sixty-one male veterans who completed the MMPI between 1947 and 1975 and were then diagnosed with colon cancer between 1977 and 1988 were matched with control patients. A 21-factor solution of the MMPI [1] was used to seek potential personality differences between colon cancer cases and their controls in terms of presence of colon cancer and stage of presentation for this disease. A stepwise conditional regression analysis found significant differences between the colon cancer and control groups on the Aggressive Hostility variable (p<0.018). A multivariate analysis of variance conducted across the stages of colon cancer presentation found that patients who presented later on for colon cancer had higher Phobia scores (p<0.05). Religious Fundamentalism who also related to presentation (p<0.05), but in a nonlinear manner. Discussion is related to previous findings regarding the relationship between personality and development of cancer, as well as to implications for patient screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1039
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1995


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Hostility
  • Phobias
  • Prevention
  • Religious fundamentalism


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