Posttraumatic growth in cancer patients and partners - Effects of role, gender and the dyad on couples' posttraumatic growth experience

Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland.
Psycho-Oncology (Impact Factor: 2.44). 01/2010; 19(1):12-20. DOI: 10.1002/pon.1486
Source: PubMed


Little is known about factors influencing positive effects in couples facing a cancer diagnosis.
A heterogeneous sample of 224 couples from a multi-site study (four oncology units) completed questionnaire surveys including the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) as a measure of positive psychological effects.
The data demonstrated that all three investigated factors--gender, role (patient vs partner) and the dyad (belonging to any of the 224 couples)--significantly contributed to variation in PTGI total scores and subscales. Variability between couples (factor dyad) appeared stronger than variability between patient and partner participants (factor role) and between male and female participants (factor gender). Role and gender analysis showed that patients demonstrated higher levels of posttraumatic growth than partners; and female participants scored higher on PTGI than males. Male patient-female partner pairs show greater association in their experience of posttraumatic growth than female patient-male partner pairs. Correlations also suggested that, regardless of the gender and role composition, patients and partners may experience parallel growth.
Our findings indicate that positive psychological experiences may be shared by partners affected by cancer in similar ways as have been shown for negative psychological effects. Intra-couple similarities or processes may have a more important function in experiencing benefits than factors like gender or being the patient or the partner. These results underline the importance of a family approach to understanding negative and positive psychological effects of cancer.

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    • "The second most influential factor was the person's role in the couple. Thus, whereas gender seems to have more influence than does role on negative psychological experiences (Hagedoorn et al., 2008), the couple dyad and role have a stronger and more consistent influence when it comes to positive psychological experiences (Zwahlen, et al., 2010). The fact that role and the dyad appear to explain the variability between couples on most of the PTGI scales suggests that PTG is more related to having directly experienced cancer (survivor) and to the particular relationship that each couple has (dyad), which, in turn, would support the idea that the partner's PTG may be dependent on that of the survivor and on the special bond they maintain, in a process of PTG that is vicarious rather than secondary. "

    01/2016; Springuer.
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    • "A study that examined factors influencing personal growth among 224 couples coping with cancer using the Post-traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) showed that gender, role and the dyad are the factors that contributed significantly to the total and subscale scores of the PTGI. Female spousal caregivers had higher total PTGI scores than male spousal caregivers (m = 21.13 vs. 18.67), and higher subscale scores for new possibilities (m = 3.60 vs. 3.29), relating to others (7.56 vs. 7.05), appreciation of life (4.04 vs. 3.65), personal strength (4.40 vs. 3.80) and spiritual change (1.15 vs. 1.01) (Zwahlen et al. 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: The spouse is generally the primary informal caregiver for cancer patients. Many studies have explored the experience of caregiving for cancer patients, but it is unclear whether there are gender differences in the spousal caring experience for cancer patients. This review describes the recent published research on the stress process of spousal caregiving experience for cancer patients, and aims to identify any gender differences in the caregiving experience. Electronic, manual and author's searches were conducted. Articles included were published in English and Chinese, from January 2000 to March 2012. Study population is couples coping with cancer. Focus is on caregiving experience for spouse with cancer, and findings include both male and female spousal caregivers in quantitative studies. The databases searched included MEDLINE, CINAHL, Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, PsycINFO and the China Academic Journal Full-text Database. The key search terms used were 'cancer' or 'oncology' or 'carcinoma' AND 'caregiver' or 'caregiving' or 'carer' AND 'gender differences' or 'gender' AND 'spouse' or 'couple' or 'partner'. Spousal caregiving experiences of cancer patients were explored by adopting the 'stress process' of the Cancer Family Caregiving Experience Model from the gender perspective. Twenty-five articles were identified and included in this review. It was revealed that female spousal caregivers perceived higher level negative experience in caregiving, such as lower mental health, lower physical health, poorer health-related quality of life, lower life satisfaction and decreased marital satisfaction than male spousal caregivers. However, female spousal caregivers are more likely to experience personal growth than male spousal caregivers. This review identified that female spousal caregivers for cancer patients had higher levels of negative experience in caregiving. A better understanding of the spousal caregiving experience will provide healthcare professionals with the information needed to develop interventions to support and prepare spousal caregivers to care for their loved ones with cancer.
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    • "Significativa Manne et al., 2004; Thornton y Pérez, 2006, Zwahlen et al., 2010; Moore et al., 2011 Escasa o nula. El CPT es autónomo Dimensiones del CPT Compartidas Zwahlen et al., 2010; Moore et al., 2011 Diferenciadas. Sólo en cáncer avanzado Moore et al., 2011 Predictores de CPT en la pareja del superviviente Similares. "
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