Psychosocial factors related to posttraumatic growth in breast cancer survivors: a review

Women Health. 2014;54(6):569-92. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2014.899543.


In this article, we reviewed quantitative studies regarding psychosocial factors associated with posttraumatic growth (PTG) in patients with breast cancer to elucidate our understanding of a model of PTG process. PsycInfo, Embase, Medline, Web of Knowledge were used for the search. Only quantitative, English written studies that used the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) measure administered to breast cancer patients were included. The initial search yielded 90 publications. Of those, 22 studies satisfied inclusion criteria and formed the basis of the review. Personality traits (e.g., optimism and openness), cognitive processing of cancer (e.g., deliberate rumination), perceived threat of the disease, coping strategies (e.g., problem-focused), and social support were identified to be related to PTG in women with breast cancer. Demographic characteristics (e.g., age at cancer diagnosis) were also found to play a key role in PTG. The findings of this review provided support to Tedeschi and Calhoun's functional-descriptive model of PTG process. Further directions for research and clinical implications are provided.

Keywords: breast cancer; cognitive processing; coping; personality; posttraumatic growth; social support.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Support
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Survivors / psychology*