This longitudinal study characterized psychological adjustment in a sample of lung cancer patients by examining the occurrence of posttraumatic stress and growth and their relationships with mental and physical health quality of life and survival over time. Two waves of consecutive cohort samples, totaling 115 participants diagnosed with lung cancer, were identified from outpatient oncology clinics. Of these, 93 consented and completed the first of three assessments, and 57 completed the study. Prevalence of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSD Checklist) and posttraumatic growth (Posttraumatic Growth Inventory) were assessed and used to predict physical and mental health components of quality of life (Short-Form 36) and survival. Patients reported both negative and positive psychological sequelae, with prevalence of estimated PTSD ranging from 5% to 16% at each assessment as determined by symptom and cut-off methods. Posttraumatic stress and growth were positively related, but were differentially associated with outcomes. More posttraumatic stress predicted lower mental health quality of life, whereas more posttraumatic growth predicted better physical health quality of life and longer survival. These relationships persisted after accounting for disease variables and attrition due to death or illness. These findings highlight the importance of using longitudinal designs to identify relationships between stress and resilience factors in predicting outcomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)