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Soc Sci Med. 2006 Sep;63(6):1614-24. Epub 2006 Jun 12.

Changes in finding benefit after cancer surgery and the prediction of well-being one year later.

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Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, Gesundheitspsychologie, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin, Germany.


Critical life events, such as cancer surgery, may result in finding some benefit in one's fate. In this longitudinal study with 117 cancer patients (73 men, 44 women) in hospitals in Berlin, we addressed three questions. (1) Do patients report benefit finding after surgery? (2) Are changes in benefit finding related to patients' well-being? (3) Is social support associated with finding benefits in cancer? Patients were interviewed and completed a questionnaire in the week before cancer surgery. They were invited to participate in the follow-up by letter with a questionnaire at one month and again at 12 months postsurgery. Benefit finding was measured by a seven-item scale assessing different facets of positive changes attributed to experiencing grave illness. Although benefit finding increased over one year, change was substantial only for those who started off at a low level. Well-being was not associated with benefit finding at any point in time. However, changes in benefit finding predicted subsequent well-being. Received support was associated with benefit finding. Changes in benefit finding as well as initial support emerged as joint predictors of well-being.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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