Post-traumatic Growth after Cancer: A Thematic Analysis Study


Any series illness brings along shock, distress, and possible long-term negative life changes. But such an experience can also relate to positive life changes. Observations of positive outcomes including increased spiritual wellbeing linked to quality of life are increasingly being found in cancer studies. These results seem to converge with post-traumatic growth (PTG) which emphasizes positive life changes resulting from considerable life-changing events borne from crises or trauma. The aims of this study are to 1) investigate the holistic impact and ramifications of PTG on the recovery from serious illness such as cancer; 2) clarify the relationship, if any, of PTG with mental health outcomes; and 3) how is PTG strengthened or otherwise, when one is faced by such life-changing event. Using a Thematic Analysis design, we investigated how the diagnosis of, and treatment of cancer impacted the patients and survivors. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with people who had received treatment for different types of cancer. Using descriptive mapping, we clarified whether this study’s results are consistent with Tedeschi and Calhoun’s PTG framework. Findings charted on the key factors of PTG, namely stronger spirituality, better relationships, appreciation of life, better life possibilities, and personal strength. Cancer results in varied consequences and in negative and positive adjustments. Further development of findings that charted on major PTG dimensions is warranted.


Michael Galea
Associate Professor, Mental Health, University of Malta, Msida, Malta


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2024 Special Focus—Spaces, Movement, Time: Religions at Rest and in Movement



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