Reappraisal in the eighth life cycle stage: a theoretical psychoeducational intervention in elderly patients with cancer

Palliat Support Care. 2009 Sep;7(3):271-9. doi: 10.1017/S1478951509990198.


Elderly patients with cancer face unique physical and psychiatric challenges in coping with their illness. Optimal psychosocial therapy for older cancer patients requires recognizing certain enhanced psychological capacities such as coping better with illness, which is associated with older age. This strength can be combined with the most appropriate cognitive coping strategies to develop a model intervention. This paper describes such a model, which integrates Erik Erikson's eighth and final psychosocial developmental life stage, in which the task is to achieve ego integrity (equanimity) or to experience despair (sadness, regrets), with Susan Folkman's cognitive coping paradigm, which utilizes reappraisal. This theoretical model addresses older cancer patients who are struggling with depression, isolation, and despair related to aging and illness, and utilizes cognitive reappraisal in a group setting to foster relatedness, acceptance of illness, and a sense of meaningful integration.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Loneliness / psychology
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Sick Role*
  • Social Environment
  • Social Isolation*