Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Preemptively finding benefit in a breast cancer diagnosis.

  • Author(s): Rankin, Kyla
  • Le, Dakota
  • Sweeny, Kate
  • et al.

Objective: The current mixed-method investigation seeks to discover if and how people engage in preemptive benefit finding (i.e. seeking silver linings in a potential future outcome), specifically in the context of awaiting a breast biopsy result. Design: A total of 201 patients were interviewed just prior to undergoing a breast biopsy at a county hospital. Main outcome measures and results: A qualitative analysis identified themes in women's descriptions of preemptive benefit finding. A majority of participants (76%) reported engaging in preemptive benefit finding at their appointment, a week or more before learning their result. Patients identified two categories of benefits - self- and other-focused - and eight subcategories: health benefits, personal growth, appreciation for life, physical change, strengthening relationships, spreading awareness, supporting others, and role modelling. We also identify differences between those who engaged in self-focused and other-focused preemptive benefit finding. Conclusion: Benefit finding begins long before bad news arrives, and people find a variety of benefits in even the most dire of anticipated news. Clinicians who interact with patients during the diagnostic process (e.g. mammography technicians) may find it useful to know that their patients are already grappling with the possibility of a diagnosis, including the positive reappraisal process of identifying potential silver linings.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View