Posttraumatic growth in women after breast cancer surgery – preliminary results from a study of Polish patients
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Submission date: 2015-02-03
Final revision date: 2015-03-23
Acceptance date: 2015-05-03
Online publication date: 2015-07-13
Publication date: 2015-07-13
Health Psychology Report 2015;3(4):336–344
The aim of the study was to answer the following research questions: What percentage of women after breast cancer surgery experienced posttraumatic growth (PTG)? Which aspect of PTG was experienced to the greatest extent by the participants? Do age at the day of survey, age at diagnosis, time since diagnosis, type of surgery, non-surgical methods of treatment, participation in rehabilitation or physical activity significantly differentiate participants in PTG?

Participants and procedure
Forty-seven women after breast cancer surgery participated in the study. Posttraumatic growth was measured with the Polish version of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) consisting of 4 scales: Self-Perception (SP), Relating to Others (RO), Appreciation of Life (AL) and Spiritual Change (SC). The demographic, disease and treatment related variables were controlled.

Forty-three percent of participants experienced high, 23% moderate, and 34% little or no PTG. Posttraumatic growth manifested itself mainly positive changes in relationships with others. Age at the day of the survey did not correlate significantly with scores of PTGI. Age at diagnosis correlated significantly with total PTG (ρ = –0.37, p = .012), SP (ρ = –0.33, p = .029), RO (ρ = –0.40, p = .008) and AL (ρ = –0.39, p = .010). Women aged ≤ 50 at the day of the survey had significantly higher scores of AL than women > 50 (U = 117.50, p = .042). Women who were physically active at the day of the survey had significantly higher scores in total PTG (U = 118.50, p = .008), SP (U = 7.28, p = .007) and RO (U = 108.00, p = .003). Time since diagnosis, type of treatment and participation in rehabilitation after the surgery did not differentiate respondents significantly in PTG.

Posttraumatic growth was experienced by a considerable percentage of participants. The average level of PTG was moderate. Women physically active at the time of the survey showed higher levels of PTG. We recommend that women after breast cancer surgery should be encouraged by medical staff, family and friends to undertake physical activity as soon as possible.
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