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POST TRAUMATIC GROWTH IN WOMEN WITH BREAST CANCER

Ahuja , Rekha R (2019) POST TRAUMATIC GROWTH IN WOMEN WITH BREAST CANCER. PhD thesis, Christ university.

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Abstract

Cancer survivors have the potential for personal growth, demonstrating positive changes in personal, interpersonal and socio cultural functioning. A diagnosis of cancer, which is perceived as life-threatening and seismic,demands an individual to accommodate changes in all areas of life, often leading to positive adaptive changes known as posttraumatic growth (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2008). The aim of the present study was to explore what constitutes the experience of posttraumatic growth among women survivors of breast cancer with the objectives of understanding how they make sense of their diagnosis, exploring the strategies through which they negotiate the illness identity, exploring positive and negative changes in them as a result of the illness experience, and investigating the individual and socio-cultural factors that contribute to the experience of posttraumatic growth in the Indian context. This study employed a qualitative approach using the phenomenological paradigm. Purposive sampling was used to identity thirteen women who were diagnosed with early stage breast cancer (stage one or two) during their reproductive years and had completed cancer treatment i.e. surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy at least one year prior to participating in this study. A short form of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (2010) was used to screen for positive changes, and Kuppuswamy’s scale for socioeconomic status (2015) enabled selection of women belonging to middle class population, to ensure homogeneity within the sample. Semi structured interviews were used to collect data which was analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Interview guide validation, member check, inter-coder reliability and an audit trail ensured validity of findings. One negative case in the sample displayed a positive attitude and approach, however did not report these changes due to cancer. It may be inferred that spiritual/ philosophical beliefs of the participant shaped her worldview to accommodate and accept cancer. Three superordinate themes, explained the sample’s experience of posttraumatic growth following breast cancer. 1) Cancer the seismic event: shattered assumptions, 2) Coping well is a choice, 3) Transforming through struggle: posttraumatic growth. Cancer treatment was perceived to be more stressful than the diagnosis. Mastectomy was perceived as a forced choice that is life-saving, yet life-altering. Women’s role as nurturers in the family motivated them to consciously choose positive attitudes and coping behaviors. Interaction with other survivors served as a roadmap to recovery. Social support and spirituality enhanced acceptance, coping and PTG. Meaning making was crucial to benefit finding and a changed perspective of their illness experience. Gratitude, and a shift of focus to the present moment enabled a changed meaning of life, enhanced interpersonal relationships, and enhanced spirituality. Investigating these factors in our context provided insight on how to develop and implement comprehensive care strategies that not just alleviate distress, but focus on promoting adaptive growth experiences, consistent with the need to integrate positive psychology based interventions that aim at enhancing one’s strengths to tackle weaknesses (Kanwar, 2018; Grant & Palmer, 2015).

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Subjects:Thesis
Thesis > Ph.D > Psychology
Thesis > Ph.D
ID Code:7862
Deposited By:Shaiju M C
Deposited On:01 Jun 2019 14:35
Last Modified:01 Jun 2019 14:35

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