Positive Psychology Approaches to Interventions for Cancer Dyads: A Scoping Review

Amy K. Otto, Dana Ketcher, Maija Reblin, Alexandra L. Terrill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: Positive psychology approaches (PPAs) to interventions focus on developing positive cognitions, emotions, and behavior. Benefits of these interventions may be compounded when delivered to interdependent dyads. However, dyadic interventions involving PPAs are relatively new in the cancer context. This scoping review aimed to provide an overview of the available research evidence for use of dyadic PPA-based interventions in cancer and identify gaps in this literature. Methods: Following PRISMA guidelines, we conducted a scoping review of intervention studies that included PPAs delivered to both members of an adult dyad including a cancer patient and support person (e.g., family caregiver, intimate partner). Results: Forty-eight studies, including 39 primary analyses and 28 unique interventions, were included. Most often (53.8%), the support person in the dyad was broadly defined as a “caregiver”; the most frequent specifically-defined role was spouse (41.0%). PPAs (e.g., meaning making) were often paired with other intervention components (e.g., education). Outcomes were mostly individual well-being or dyadic coping/adjustment. Conclusions: Wide variability exists in PPA type/function and their targeted outcomes. More work is needed to refine the definition/terminology and understand specific mechanisms of positive psychology approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13561
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (5T32CA090314-16, PIs: T. H. Brandon & S. T. Vadaparampil).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • cancer
  • cancer survivors
  • caregivers
  • dyads
  • interventions
  • positive psychology

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Journal Article
  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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