Patterns and covariates of benefit finding in young Black breast cancer survivors: A longitudinal, observational study

Psychooncology. 2020 Jul;29(7):1115-1122. doi: 10.1002/pon.5398. Epub 2020 May 11.


Objective: To examine the patterns and covariates of benefit finding over time among young Black breast cancer (BC) survivors.

Methods: Black women (N = 305) with invasive BC diagnosed ≤50 years were recruited an average of 1.9 years post-BC diagnosis. Participants completed self-report questionnaires of benefit finding, social support, and illness intrusions at three time points (M time since BC diagnosis: T2 = 3.1 years, T3 = 4.0 years). Relationships between posttraumatic growth constructs (social support, illness intrusions) and benefit finding over time were examined using mixed models. Models controlled for cultural variables (religiosity, time orientation, and collectivism), receipt of chemotherapy, general health status, and partner status.

Results: Participants reported high levels of benefit finding (M = 2.99, SE = 0.04 on a 0-4 scale). When accounting for covariates, benefit finding did not change over time since BC diagnosis (P = .21). Benefit finding scores at BC diagnosis were associated with more illness intrusions, greater religiosity, and having received chemotherapy (all Ps < .04). Social support was associated with change in benefit finding scores over time, such that a 1-point increase in social support was associated with a 0.05 increase in benefit finding per year (P = .02).

Conclusions: This study addresses key gaps in knowledge regarding benefit finding among Black cancer survivors. Consistent with findings from majority White samples, social support and illness intrusions appear to play a key role in benefit finding in Black BC survivors. Cultural constructs-including religiosity-must also be considered in future studies of benefit finding among minority populations.

Keywords: Black; benefit finding; breast cancer; cancer; oncology; survivorship.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Cancer Survivors / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Posttraumatic Growth, Psychological*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Spirituality