Correlates of post-traumatic growth following childhood and adolescent cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:A growing number of children and adolescents are experiencing and surviving cancer. This review aims to identify the demographic, medical, and psychosocial correlates of perceived post-traumatic growth in individuals of any age who were affected by paediatric cancer. Findings will highlight protective factors that may facilitate post-traumatic growth, allowing for directed social support, intervention, and follow-up care. METHODS:A systematic search based on the key concepts "post-traumatic growth," "neoplasms," and "paediatric" retrieved 905 records from online databases: Embase, Ovid MEDLINE, PILOTS: Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress, PsycINFO, and Web of Science. Eligible studies were appraised as excellent quality with a high level of interrater reliability. The results of 18 studies were synthesised. RESULTS:After the removal of outliers, post-traumatic growth shared small, negative associations with time since diagnosis (r = -0.14) and time since treatment completion (r = -0.19), and small, positive associations with age at diagnosis (r = 0.20), age at survey (r = 0.17), post-traumatic stress symptoms (r = 0.11), and social support (r = 0.25). Post-traumatic growth was positively and moderately associated with optimism (r = 0.31). CONCLUSIONS:Several findings were consistent with a comparable meta-analysis in adult oncology populations. Targeted social support, clinical intervention, and education may facilitate post-traumatic growth. Longitudinal research in individuals affected by childhood and adolescent cancer would allow an examination of the effects of predictive variables on post-traumatic growth over time.

publication date

  • 2018