Psychosocial experience of cancer : surpassing mere survival and recognising the potential for posttraumatic growth as well as distress.
Morris, Bronwyn A. & Shakespeare-Finch, Jane E. (2012) Psychosocial experience of cancer : surpassing mere survival and recognising the potential for posttraumatic growth as well as distress. In Gow, Kathryn M. & Celinski, Marek (Eds.) Individual Trauma : Recovering from Deep Wounds and Exploring the Potential for Renewal. NOVA Science Publishers, New York, pp. 261-276.
Administrators only | Request a copy from author
The publication of the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) introduced the notion that a life-threatening illness can be a stressor and catalyst for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since then a solid body of research has been established investigating the post-diagnosis experience of cancer. These studies have identified a number of short and long-term life changes resulting from a diagnosis of cancer and associated treatments. In this chapter, we discuss the psychosocial response to the cancer experience and the potential for cancer-related distress. Cancer can represent a life-threatening diagnosis that may be associated with aggressive treatments and result in physical and psychological changes. The potential for future trauma through the lasting effects of the disease and treatment, and the possibility of recurrence, can be a source of continued psychological distress. In addition to the documented adverse repercussions of cancer, we also outline the recent shift that has occurred in the psycho-oncology literature regarding positive life change or posttraumatic growth that is commonly reported after a diagnosis of cancer. Adopting a salutogenic framework acknowledges that the cancer experience is a dynamic psychosocial process with both negative and positive repercussions. Next, we describe the situational and individual factors that are associated with posttraumatic growth and the types of positive life change that are prevalent in this context. Finally, we discuss the implications of this research in a therapeutic context and the directions of future posttraumatic growth research with cancer survivors. This chapter will present both quantitative and qualitative research that indicates the potential for personal growth from adversity rather than just mere survival and return to pre-diagnosis functioning. It is important to emphasise however, that the presence of growth and prevalence of resilience does not negate the extremely distressing nature of a cancer diagnosis for the patient and their families and the suffering that can accompany treatment regimes. Indeed, it will be explained that for growth to occur, the experience must be one that quite literally shatters previously held schemas in order to act as a catalyst for change.
Impact and interest:
Citation counts are sourced monthly from and citation databases.
These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.
Citations counts from theindexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.
|Item Type:||Book Chapter|
|Keywords:||cancer, traumatic stress, posttraumatic growth, strengths, coping|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100)
|Divisions:||Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2012 NOVA Science Publishers|
|Deposited On:||19 Dec 2012 02:05|
|Last Modified:||24 Jun 2016 17:18|
Repository Staff Only: item control page