The experience of PostTraumatic Growth by Irish female cancer survivors.
thesisposted on 17.07.2020, 11:07 by Marie Walsh
This thesis explores how 67 Irish female cancer survivors experienced positive growth from cancer. With better treatment and improvements in early detection, the cancer survivor population is growing exponentially. Survivors have unmet needs and there is a need for and a shortage of psycho social supports available. We need to understand the lived experience of cancer survivors to be able to provide supports appropriate to their needs.
The literature review positions this project within the research fields of survivorship and psycho-oncology. It examines the development and debates of the Model of PostTraumatic Growth which is a key framework used in this research.
There are three key research questions: What is PostTraumatic Growth (PTG) in the context of female cancer recovery? To what extent does the PostTraumatic Growth Inventory effectively capture Irish women’s experience of cancer recovery? And how does the PostTraumatic Growth Inventory compare to semi-structured interviews in understanding women’s experiences of cancer recovery?
The research employs a mixed-methods approach. The qualitative data consists of semi structured interviews and the quantitative data is derived from the PostTraumatic Growth Inventory-42. Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to analyse the qualitative data and Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) software used to analyse the quantitative data with an emphasis on descriptive statistics, correlations and Principal Components Analysis.
The findings highlight the importance of quality ‘social support’ especially from close friends as a significant driver of cancer recovery. Participants experienced the greatest degree of growth in the Relate to Others Factor. The findings suggest two new areas of positive growth: Proactive Mindset and Self Worth. Participants with children experienced greater positive growth compared to those who did not have children. Age, marital status and cancer stage were not predictors of growth.
This research recommends maximising social support as a key recovery driver and highlights the need to develop a new PostTraumatic Growth Inventory to ensure its validity as a measurement tool of positive growth for the cancer survivor population.