Post traumatic Growth Among Patients Diagnosed with Cancer

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science



Department or Program Chair

Barbara Ganley, PhD

Thesis Advisor

Barbara Ganley, PhD, RN, HNC


Posttraumatic growth is the positive change that is experienced by an individual as a result of coping with a traumatic event. Many people, after the experience of a trauma, experience enhanced social and personal resources. Studies support the theory that in the midst of negative events there is the possibility of experiencing positive consequences such as renewed hope, an increased sense of being a survivor, enhanced social and community relationships, and a greater sense of purpose and spirituality. The framework for this study is Neuman’s System Model. This model is a holistic model that views an individual as a system composed of interrelated, dynamic components that encompass the physical, psychological, sociocultural, developmental and spiritual aspects of the individual.

The study was a cross sectional descriptive survey used to explore the posttraumatic growth experiences of individuals previously diagnosed with cancer. The instrument utilized for this study was the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory developed by Tedeschi and Calhoun. The instrument is a 21 question self-administered survey with five subscales: 1) relating to others 2) new possibilities j) personal strength 4) spiritual change, and 5) appreciation of life.

A total of 25 surveys were collected. In each subscale, or category over 50% of respondents indicated a great deal of growth. The hypothesis that a greater degree of Posttraumatic growth would be reported over time was not supported by the data.

The findings suggest that cancer patients do experience posttraumatic growth. The major limitation of this study was the small sample size. Further study is needed to explore the qualities of posttraumatic growth among patients diagnosed with cancer and to determine how time may affect the degree of posttraumatic growth that is experienced.

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