Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Nursing

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Dr. Dorothy A. Brockopp

Abstract

Eudaimonic psychological well-being (PWB) refers to a lifelong process of purposeful engagement in goal-driven tasks or activities resulting in positive psychological functioning. These activities reflect autonomy, purpose in life, self-acceptance, personal growth, positive relations with others, and environmental mastery. While more women are surviving breast cancer, they face a multitude of late and long term physiopsychosocial challenges that result from being diagnosed and treated. Protective health effects associated with the experience of PWB can potentially mitigate ill-being and benefit overall health of breast cancer survivors (BCS). Adequate preparation by healthcare teams to transition them from primary treatment to early survivorship is critical for the immediate and long term PWB of BCS.

The purpose of this dissertation was to: 1) summarize current literature addressing PWB among BCS; 2) describe the helpfulness of information BCS satisfied and dissatisfied receive from their healthcare team to prepare to transition into life immediately after treatment; and 3) examine relationships between PWB and factors that negatively influence BCS’ ability to successfully transition to early survivorship

Three manuscripts describe results of data analysis. From a literature review, factors that correlate with PWB among BCS were identified: coping, social support, self-esteem, post-traumatic growth, religious struggles and the impact of physical symptoms. Based on qualitative responses, BCS who are satisfied and dissatisfied with information received to prepare for transition into early survivorship emphasized the importance of receiving comprehensive information on: (1) what to expect physically and emotionally post-treatment, and (2) how their lives moving forward will be unlike their lives prior to being diagnosed. Among a convenience sample of 56 BCS, significant negative relationships between PWB and a) cancer problems frequently experienced by early survivors of breast cancer, b) psychological distress, and c) satisfaction with information received to transition from primary treatment into early survivorship was noted from a prospective, cross-sectional research design study. PWB is becoming increasingly important given that BCS live longer. Information learned from this dissertation can be used by healthcare teams to promote or maintain positive psychological functioning among these survivors, focusing initially on preparing them for life immediately after treatment.

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Nursing Commons

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