Cancer caregiver reports of post-traumatic growth following spousal hematopoietic stem cell transplant

Jacquelyn Harvey, Maranda Berndt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Cancer caregivers are at risk for experiencing health issues due to the stress of caregiving. Despite this, it is possible to prompt adaptive coping during the cancer experience. Adaptive coping is associated with improved health for caregiver populations. Forms of emotional disclosure are associated with caregiver reports of post-traumatic growth (PTG), which is an adaptive coping mechanism that comprises positive change following trauma. This study sought to identify areas of PTG identified by spousal hematopoietic stem-cell transplant (HSCT) cancer caregivers, via emotional disclosure writings. Design & Method: Twenty-two spousal caregivers of patients who underwent a (HSCT) submitted emotional disclosure writings three times at one-week intervals. Writings centered on positive outcomes arising in light of the cancer experience. A qualitative grounded theory approach was used to evaluate caregiver accounts of PTG that arose while caring for their spouse. Results & Conclusions: Findings suggest seven areas of PTG recognized through the disclosure process: living in the moment, a sense of honor and pride, choosing positivity, uninfluenced self-choice and expression, deprioritizing materialism, personal and/or spiritual connection, and altruistic expansion. The primary theoretical advancement arising from this study includes the notion that PTG largely appears to be a socially dependent process. Trial identifier: NCT02339870.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-410
Number of pages14
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 15 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Peter Clarke Dissertation Fund, awarded to the first author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Emotional disclosure
  • cancer caregiving
  • posttraumatic growth
  • qualitative research


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