Positive changes in the aftermath of cancer experience


  • M. Oliveira
  • S. Castro
  • S. Moutinho


Background: Literature shows that people struggling with cancer can undergo changes regarded as positive. This study aims to understand how meaning, positive affect and personal growth articulate with psychological suffering and quality of life. Design: quantitative; transversal Participants: 100 oncological patients Measures: socio-demographic and clinical questionnaire, Distress Thermometer (DT), Subjective Perception of Suffering (IESSD), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), Stress-Related Growth Scale (SRGS), Meaning of Life (ML), FACIT (General and Spirituality). Analysis Analysis revealed:  DT and IESSD are: negatively correlated with the perception of positive changes (PPC), ML, positive affect (PA), FACIT and FACIT spirituality; positively associated with negative affect (NA). NA presents the same correlations excepting an unexpected negative correlation with AP.  PA is: inversely correlated with DT, IESSD, and NA; positively associated with PPC, personal growth (SRGS), ML, FACIT and FACIT spirituality.  PPC is: positively associated with PA, SRGS, FACIT and FACIT spirituality; negatively related with DT, NA and IESSD.  Growth (SRGS) is positively associated with positive affect, perceived positive changes, FACIT and FACIT spirituality.  ML is inversely related with DT, NA and IESSD; positively associated with AP, FACIT and FACIT spirituality (all dimensions).  Accordingly to the DT cut point, the sample shows differences regarding growth (SRGS). Conclusion: Are distress and growth two faces of the same reality? Results demonstrate that the answer is yes. There is no doubt that when someone is facing a cancer, psychological suffering can coexist with the experience of PA and perception of personal growth.





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