JOURNAL ARTICLE

Well-being, posttraumatic growth and benefit finding in long-term breast cancer survivors

Floortje Mols, Ad J J M Vingerhoets, Jan Willem W Coebergh, Lonneke V van de Poll-Franse
Psychology & Health 2009, 24 (5): 583-95
20205013
This study evaluates posttraumatic growth, benefit finding and well-being, and their mutual association in a random sample of disease-free 10-year breast cancer survivors. The population-based Eindhoven Cancer Registry (ECR) was used to select all women diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 in six hospitals. Of the 254 breast cancer survivors, 183 (72%) returned a completed questionnaire. Measures included the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (posttraumatic growth), the Perceived Disease Impact Scale (benefit finding) and the CentERdata Health monitor (life satisfaction, health status and psychological well-being). Self-reported health status and psychological well-being were similar in survivors compared to general population norms, whereas life satisfaction was significantly higher among survivors. In addition, posttraumatic growth was seen in the following domains: relationships with others, personal strength and appreciation of life. The number of patients reporting benefit finding was high (79%, N = 145). Benefit finding showed a moderately positive correlation with posttraumatic growth. In addition, women who stated that their satisfaction with life was high reported higher levels of posttraumatic growth in comparison to women who did not. Radiotherapy was negatively associated with posttraumatic growth. Women with a higher tumour stage at diagnosis experienced less benefit finding in comparison to women with a lower tumour stage at diagnosis. The above results can help to identify those patients who will probably experience posttraumatic growth and benefit finding after cancer. However, it is important to be aware that the positive effects of cancer on a patient's life do not occur in all cancer patients and all phases of the disease trajectory.

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