Positive consequences of cancer: exploring relationships among posttraumatic growth, adult attachment, and quality of life


Aims and Background

Cancer can be a life-threatening illness; however, it can also be a source of positive life changes, the posttraumatic growth (PTG) that comes from struggling with this serious illness. This cross-sectional study examines the sociodemographic and cancer-related predictors of PTG following a diagnosis of cancer. In addition, the relationships among adult attachment, health-related quality of life, and PTG are investigated. Measuring adult attachment is important because it can greatly influence the response to a highly distressing event, like facing cancer.

Methods and Study design

Immediately before undergoing radiotherapy, 152 patients with breast or prostate cancer (mean = 59.1 years old, SD = 10.7) who had received a positive diagnosis within an average of 3.5 months prior to treatment were tested for measures of PTG, adult attachment, and health-related quality of life. Patients also completed a questionnaire regarding medical and sociodemographic characteristics. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to reveal the significant predictors of PTG total score and PTG subscale scores.


Younger age was a significant predictor of the PTG total score and New Possibilities subscale score. Subjective severity of cancer was positively associated with the PTG total score and scores on the Appreciation of Life and New Possibilities subscales. Regarding health-related quality of life, analyses indicated that greater social/family well-being significantly predicted greater PTG total score and higher scores on the New Possibilities, Spiritual Change, Appreciation of Life, and Relating to Others subscales. Finally, dismissive attachment style predicted fewer scores on the Personal Strength and Relating to Others subscales.


These findings suggest that in addition to quality of life and adult attachment, sociodemographic and cancer-related variables may significantly contribute to positive growth.

Tumori 2015; 101(2): 223 - 231




Zsuzsanna Tanyi, Kornélia Szluha, László Nemes, Sándor Kovács, Antal Bugán

Article History


Financial support: No financial support was received for this submission.
Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflict of interest.

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  • Department of Behavioural Sciences, University of Debrecen, Debrecen - Hungary
  • Department of Radiotherapy, University of Debrecen, Debrecen - Hungary
  • Klinikum Straubing GmbH, Srahlentherapie, Straubing - Germany
  • Department of Economic Analysis and Statistics, Institute of Economic Analytical Methodology and Applied Informatics, University of Debrecen, Debrecen - Hungary

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