This study examined patients' perceptions that having cancer led to positive life changes, or benefit-finding (BF), e.g. improved relationships, enhanced appreciation of life, increased resilience and self-reliance. We investigated the relations between BF, sociodemographic (e.g. gender, age, marital status, education, income) and disease-related variables (e.g. severity of disease or cancer stage, time since diagnosis). The sample was comprised of 83 men and women with various types of cancer, and all 4 stages of disease were represented. Participants were most likely to be Caucasian (90%), married (66%) and well-educated (68% partial college/specialized training). Of the demographic variables investigated, younger age was associated with greater BF scores. As hypothesized, BF also differed by stage of disease in a curvilinear fashion. Individuals with stage II disease had significantly higher BF scores than those with Stage IV or Stage I cancer. Time since diagnosis and treatment status (i.e. currently in treatment, completed treatment, no treatment) were not related to BF. Findings suggest that stage of disease is an important factor to consider when investigating positive perceptions of disease in individuals with cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health