Purpose/Objectives: To examine post-traumatic growth, or positive life changes, and its correlates among adult daughters of breast cancer survivors and to compare their psychosocial adjustment to women with healthy parents.
Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Outpatient oncology units in two urban hospitals and two breast cancer organizations.
Sample: 30 adult daughters of breast cancer survivors (¯X age = 38.1 years) and 16 women with healthy parents.
Methods: Participants were recruited by hospital or research staff or responded to an announcement in a newsletter. Respondents completed the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory and standardized assessments of psychosocial adjustment.
Main Research Variables: Post-traumatic growth and demographic, stressor, and psychosocial variables.
Findings: Women who cared for their mothers following breast cancer diagnosis and perceived their mothers' illness to be stressful reported greater post-traumatic growth. Life satisfaction, social support, emotional processing strategies, and problem-focused coping strategies also were positively associated with growth. Women with maternal histories of breast cancer and those with healthy parents did not differ in psychosocial well-being, including affect, life satisfaction, and social support.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that some daughters of breast cancer survivors experience positive life changes following their mothers' illness.
Implications for Nursing: For nurses seeking to adopt a holistic approach to practice, the personal growth of women following life-threatening familial illness warrants attention.