Factors related to the resilience and mental health of adult cancer patients: a systematic review



It has been reported that maintaining the mental health of cancer patients is a critically important issue, and that resilience is related to mental health. This study conducted a systematic literature review in order to fully understand the relationships between resilience and anxiety, depression, and quality of life (QOL) in adult cancer patients, as well as identify factors associated with resilience.


The PubMed, CINAHL, Psychology Database, and ICHUSHI Web databases were searched for articles related to resilience in cancer patients published between 2014 and 2019 using the keywords “cancer” and “resilience,” connected with “and.” The extracted articles that met inclusion criteria were organized using a matrix. To understand the resilience status of adult cancer patients, meta-analyses were performed using resilience scores measured with the most commonly used resilience scale, Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale 25.


Thirty-nine articles were included in the analysis. A higher resilience score is associated with lower anxiety and depression scores and higher QOL scores. Factors related to resilience include personal factors such as age and gender, disease-related factors such as the presence or absence and severity of physical symptoms, and internal factors such as self-efficacy and hopefulness.


It was found that it is important for cancer patients to improve resilience to maintain mental health and QOL. The findings suggest that providing interventions for factors that will reduce resilience will provide support for patients with cancer.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are shown in Tables 1 and 2.


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This study was supported by the graduate student research fund from the Graduate School of Nursing, Osaka Medical University.

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TS contributed to the conception, literature search, analysis, and manuscript writing; KS provided supervised the whole study process from research designing to analysis and reviewing the manuscript; IY performed the statistical analysis and provided advice on the manuscript writing; and FA provided advice on research concept and analysis.

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Correspondence to Saori Tamura.

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Tamura, S., Suzuki, K., Ito, Y. et al. Factors related to the resilience and mental health of adult cancer patients: a systematic review. Support Care Cancer (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05943-7

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  • Cancer
  • Resilience
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • QOL