Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 383–391 | Cite as

Post-traumatic Growth in Breast Cancer Survivors: New Insights into its Relationships with Well-Being and Distress

  • Chiara Ruini
  • Francesca Vescovelli
  • Elisa Albieri


Research investigating possible relations between Post-traumatic growth (PTG) and clinical indexes—such as psychosocial distress, physical and psychological well-being—is lacking in medical settings. The aim of this study was to look into such relationships in breast cancer survivors (Bcs) and in healthy control subjects who experienced other stressful events. Sixty Bcs and 60 healthy women reporting other stressful events were compared according to the following scales: Post-traumatic Growth Inventory, Psychological Well-being Scales (PWB), Symptom Questionnaire and Psychosocial Index. Bcs reported significantly higher levels of PTG and distress, and lower levels of PWB compared to healthy women. Bcs with high levels of PTG showed increased levels of physical well-being and decreased distress. Healthy women under stressful circumstances reporting high levels of PTG showed increased levels of PWB. PTG levels were higher in Bcs and associated with decreased psychological distress and somatisation. These results carry important implications for clinical assessment, as well as for planning interventions to improve well-being and resilience in oncology.


Breast cancer Post-traumatic growth Psychological well-being Distress Psychological assessment 



The authors thank Dr Graziella Strappato and the Breast Cancer Centre medical Team of S. Croce Hospital in Loreto (Italy) for their voluntary collaboration to this study. The authors thank Dr Emanula Offidani for the statistical consultation.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiara Ruini
    • 1
  • Francesca Vescovelli
    • 1
  • Elisa Albieri
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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