The purpose of this study was to explore how couples (including LGBTQ+) can experience posttraumatic growth (PTG) through coping with a diagnosis of cancer. I investigated how a couple's life stress may affect their ability to experience PTG, and how PTG may affect both individual and couple-level wellbeing.
Posttraumatic growth is the positive psychological change that can occur through the struggle with a highly stressful or traumatic event. It has been shown to be associated with better long-term mental health and lower distress.
As an oncology social worker, I have seen how devastating the diagnosis of cancer can be. However, I have also been amazed at the strength of individuals and families and the way they can grow from this experience. Cancer poses a threat not only to one's life, but also to one's worldview and beliefs about life. This also means that cancer may present an opportunity to learn more about how people can grow through this stressful experience.
LGBTQ+ individuals have historically been excluded from research. We do know that LGBTQ+ individuals face health disparities such as lower rates of insurance, later stage diagnosis of cancer, and higher mortality from cancer. Given these disparities and the fact that LGBTQ+ relationships are being increasingly recognized, it is vital that we understand how to best support these individuals and families. According to the Joint Commission, one element contributing to these disparities is the "invisibility" of LGBTQ individuals within the health care system driven by a lack of systemic collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data. By collecting SOGI data, this study will establish evidence to improve care to these individuals.
You may be eligible to participate if:
There are two parts to this study: