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Is there a relationship between posttraumatic stress and growth after a lymphoma diagnosis?

  • Author(s): Smith, Sophia K
  • Samsa, Greg
  • Ganz, Patricia A
  • Zimmerman, Sheryl
  • et al.
Abstract

Objective

There are conflicting empirical data regarding the relationship between posttraumatic stress (PTS) and growth (PTG) observed in cancer survivors. Clarification of this association could inform evidence-based therapeutic recommendations to promote adjustment in survivors following a cancer diagnosis.

Methods

This cross-sectional study employed standardized measures to examine the association between PTS and PTG in a sample of long-term lymphoma survivors. In addition, associations between PTG and demographic, clinical and psychosocial variables were identified to inform clinical recommendations.

Results

Long-term survivors of non-Hodgkin lymphoma provided informed consent (n = 886; 74% response rate). Subjects averaged 10.2 years post-diagnosis and 62.9 years of age. No significant association was found between the PTS and PTG summary scores. Several demographic and clinical variables (e.g., female gender and greater social support) were independently associated with greater PTG.

Conclusions

Clinicians are advised to be attentive to psychosocial needs throughout the post-cancer diagnosis adjustment period by screening for PTS symptomatology and recognizing that survivors who report growth may also be highly distressed.

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