Well-being and posttraumatic growth in unrelated donor marrow transplant survivors: a nine-year longitudinal study

Rehabil Psychol. 2010 May;55(2):204-10. doi: 10.1037/a0019541.


Objective: To study posttraumatic growth and psychological and physical well-being among 25 cancer survivors (12 men, 13 women) 9 years after receiving a hematopoietic stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor.

Measures: Participants completed measures of well-being (e.g., depression, physical function) and posttraumatic growth at the 9-year follow-up. Prior to treatment, optimism, social support, and well-being had been assessed.

Results: Findings reveal high levels of physical and psychological well-being. Survivors reported posttraumatic growth in several domains, including increased personal strengths and enhanced interpersonal relationships. Higher levels of growth were significantly related to gender and age: Women reported more total posttraumatic growth, and older survivors reported more enhanced spirituality, one domain of growth. Posttraumatic growth and well-being after treatment were predicted by 2 psychosocial variables assessed prior to treatment: dispositional optimism and social support.

Implications: Although long-term survivors report ongoing physical limitations, they also experience well-being in both physical and psychological domains. Posttraumatic growth is an area of well-being deserving of additional research and clinical attention. In particular, there may be reason to assist survivors to articulate growth as part of ongoing care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Time Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*