Post-traumatic growth (PTG) could be beneficial to cancer survivors who translate growth cognitions or emotional processes into positive behavior changes. The current study aimed to determine how post-traumatic growth (PTG) is associated with health behaviors in couples coping with cancer. Specifically, five hypothetical models based on PTG domains were created to better understand the dyadic relationship between PTG domain and health behaviors.
A total of 91 breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer survivor-spouse dyads were collected from the University Hospital Registry in Cleveland, Ohio. Standardized questions regarding PTG and health behaviors including eating and exercise were used. The actor-partner interdependence model with the use of structural equation modeling was utilized to analyze dyadic data.
Findings indicated that survivor actor effects of PTG on health behaviors were observed for survivors only. In the spiritual change and appreciation of life PTG models, the survivor or the spouse partner effects were observed, respectively. The spiritual change model produced the best fit of all of the other models, indicating both a survivor actor effect and survivor partner effect of spiritual change PTG on health behaviors. Thus, the relationships between PTG and health behavior at the dyadic level differed by five domains of PTG.
The findings reveal valuable insight into the nature of relationships between PTG and health behaviors at the individual and dyadic levels. The changed philosophies of life for cancer survivor-spouse dyads can specifically encourage healthy behaviors of couples coping with cancer.
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This work was supported by Kangnam University Research Grant.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Control of the Data
The authors have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review our data if requested.
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Lim, J. The role of post-traumatic growth in promoting healthy behavior for couples coping with cancer. Support Care Cancer 27, 829–838 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-018-4359-y
- Cancer survivor
- Dyadic relationships
- Health behavior
- Post-traumatic growth