Positive psychology mediates the relationship between symptom frequency and quality of life among colorectal cancer survivors during acute cancer survivorship

Sameena F. Sheikh-Wu, Debbie Anglade, Karina Gattamorta, Canhua Xiao, Charles A. Downs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors are living longer; therefore, factors that improve outcomes, like symptom management and quality of life (QoL), have increasingly become important. This study examined CRC survivors' symptom(s) characteristics, positive psychology (benefit finding and post-traumatic growth), and QoL, and determined whether positive psychology mediates symptom(s) and QoL relationship during acute cancer survivorship. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 117 CRC survivors was conducted at a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center. Data were collected by demographic questionnaire, Therapy-Related Symptom Checklist, QoL Inventory, and positive psychology assessed by Carver Benefit-Finding Scale and Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory. Descriptive statistics, between-group differences, multiple linear regression, and mediation analyses were performed. Results: Top common symptoms were peripheral neuropathy, fatigue/feeling sluggish, skin changes, sleep disturbances, and weakness. Psychological distress symptoms were reported in 38.46% of CRC survivors, and moderate-to-high positive psychology (3.21 ± 1.09) and QoL (5.15 ±0.52) levels were reported during acute cancer survivorship. Significant (p < 0.05) relationships were observed between QoL and (a) number of symptoms, (b) psychological distress symptoms, (c) benefit finding, (d) post-traumatic growth, and (e) positive psychology. Positive psychology partially mediated the relationship between symptom frequency and QoL (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Our study's findings suggest that CRC survivors positively cope with their cancer and treatment, and positive psychology partially mediates the relationship between symptoms frequency (almost daily and daily vs. random) and QoL across acute cancer survivorship. Identifying how CRC survivors adjust to their cancer may help healthcare teams provide tailored self-management skills to promote QoL and reduce symptom burden throughout cancer survivorship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102136
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Benefit finding
  • Colon cancer
  • Health-related outcomes
  • Oncology care
  • Post-traumatic growth
  • Rectal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)


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