Complementary medicine and recovery from cancer: the importance of post-traumatic growth Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Many users of Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs) claim that participation leads to improved well-being; however, contradictory evidence exists, with some studies linking CAM use with poorer quality of life (QoL) or increased distress. This study explored whether an individual's experience of post-traumatic growth (PTG) following cancer may play a role in explaining these disparate outcomes. One hundred and sixty-one cancer survivors (mean age = 58.96, SD = 12.12) completed measures comprised of PTG (Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory), CAM use, QoL (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy scale + Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy Spiritual Well-Being Scale), post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms (Impact of Event Scale Revised) and depression, anxiety and stress (21-item short-form Depression Anxiety Stress Scale). A multiple regression controlling for gender, age, general and cancer-specific distress indicated support for PTG as a mediator of the relationship between CAM and QoL. An individual's experience of PTG following cancer may be an important determinant of gaining benefit from participation in CAMs. Future research aimed at identifying potential facilitators of PTG may result in increased benefits of interventions aimed at improving adjustment among cancer survivors.

publication date

  • 2013