Predictors of posttraumatic growth in breast cancer survivors: An analysis of hardiness, attachment, and cognitive appraisal

Susan Gallagher-Ross, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study examined posttraumatic growth (PTG) of breast cancer survivors in relation to personal resources (hardiness, attachment style, and cognitive appraisal), contextual factors, and disease-related factors. Contextual factors included marital status, employment, having children, education, and age. Disease-related factors included type of treatment, severity of disease, and type of surgery. Participants were 142 females ages 29–71. The dependent variable was posttraumatic growth measured by the Post Traumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI). Independent variables included contextual factors, hardiness measured by the Dispositional Resilience Scale (DRS), attachment measured by Experience in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R), and cognitive appraisal measured by the Cognitive Appraisal of Health Scale (CAHS). Univariate analyses revealed that age at diagnosis had a significant inverse relationship to PTG; thus, younger women at the time of diagnosis reported greater PTG.^ Hierarchical regressions were computed between personal resources and PTGI total score and five PTGI subscales. Regression analyses indicated that: (1) as perceptions of threat and challenge increase, younger respondents at time of diagnosis reported higher PTG in Relating to Others, (2) as perceptions of challenge and/or threat increase, younger women at time of diagnosis reported higher PTGI total scores and higher PTG scores in Spiritual Change and Personal Strength, despite lower DRS Control subscale scores, (3) as perceptions of challenge and/or threat increase, younger women at time of diagnosis reported greater PTG in Spiritual Change, despite interpretation that harm might have already occurred, (4) as perceptions of threat and challenge increase, respondents reported greater PTG in New Possibilities, regardless of age, and (5) as threat and challenge increase, respondents reported greater PIG in Appreciation of Life, regardless of age, and despite perceiving that damage may have already occurred.^ These findings suggested that subjective perception of stressful events and personal resources may be the most robust predictor of PTG. Moreover, Spiritual Change subscale findings indicated that spirituality or a religious belief system may provide a framework which promotes control and adoption of a challenge appraisal, resulting in positive outcomes. Assessment of attachment style yielded nonsignificant results. Study limitations, as well as implications for theory, research, and practice were presented. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Gallagher-Ross, Susan, "Predictors of posttraumatic growth in breast cancer survivors: An analysis of hardiness, attachment, and cognitive appraisal" (2011). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3452789.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3452789

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