Meaning and Perceived Growth Following Survivorship

Issues of meaning can determine, in large part, how well individuals fare throughout cancer treatment and into longer-term survivorship. Meaning involves both the appraisals of the cancer and their abilities to cope with it as well as the processes through which survivors make meaning of their experience. One outcome of the meaning making process is perceiving positive changes as a result of dealing with one’s cancer experience. Spirituality is a central component of many survivors’ meaning systems, including their understanding of their cancer, the coping strategies they use, and the perceived growth they report. We have been in the forefront of research on meaning, spirituality and perceived growth in survivorship.


Jim, H.S.L., Pustejovsky J., Park, C.L., Danhauer S.C., Sherman, A.C., Fitchett, G., Merluzzi, T.V., Munoz, A.R., George, L., Snyder, M.A., & Salsman, J.M. (2015). Religion, spirituality, and physical health in cancer patients: A meta-analysis. Cancer, 121, 3760-3768.


Park, C.L., Sherman, A.C., Jim, H.S.L., & Salsman, J.M. (2015). Religion/spirituality and health in the context of cancer: Cross-domain integration, unresolved issues, and future directions. Cancer, 121, 3789-3794.


Salsman, J. M., Pustejovsky, J. E., Jim, H.S.L., Munoz, A.R., Merluzzi, T.V., George, L., Park, C.L., Danhauer, S.C., Sherman, A.C., Snyder, M.A., & Fitchett, G. (2015). A meta-analytic approach to examine the relationship between religion/spiritualityand mental health in cancer. Cancer, 121, 3769-3778.


Salsman, J. M., Fitchett, G., Merluzzi, T.V., Sherman, A.C., & Park, C.L. (2015). Religion, spirituality, and health outcomes in cancer: A case for a meta-analytic investigation. Cancer, 121, 3754-3759.


Sherman, A. C., Merluzzi, T. V., Pustejovsky, J. E., Park, C.L., George, L., Fitchett, G., Jim, H. S. L., Munoz, A. R., Danhauer, S.C., Snyder, M.A., & Salsman, J.M. (2015). A meta-analytic review of religious or spiritual involvement and social health among cancer patients. Cancer, 121, 3779-3788.


Park, C. L. (2013). Positive psychology perspectives across the cancer continuum:  Meaning, spirituality, and growth. In J. Steel & B. Carr (Eds.), Psychological aspects of cancer (pp. 101-118). New York: Springer.


Park, C. L. (2013). Spirituality and meaning making in cancer survivorship. In K. Markman, T. Proulx, & M. Lindberg (Eds.), The psychology of meaning (pp. 257-277). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Bellizzi KM, Wilder Smith A, Schmidt S, Keegan T, Zebrack B, Lynch C, Deapen D, Shnorhavorian M, Tompkins B, Simon M. (2012). Positive and negative psychosocial impact of being diagnosed with cancer as an adolescent or young adult. Cancer, 118, 5155-5162


Bellizzi KM, Smith AW, Reeve BB, Alfano C, Bernstein L, Meeske K, Baumgartner KB, Ballard-Barbash R. (2010). Posttraumatic growth and health-related quality of life in a racially diverse cohort of breast cancer survivors. Journal of Health Psychology, 15, 615−626.


Yanez, B., Edmondson, D., Stanton, A. L., Park, C. L., Kwan, L., Ganz, P. A., & Blank, T. O. (2009). Facets of spirituality as predictors of adjustment to cancer: Relative contributions of having faith and finding meaning. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77, 730-741.


Park, C. L., Edmondson, D., Fenster, J. R., & Blank, T. O. (2008). Meaning making and psychological adjustment following cancer: The mediating roles of growth, life meaning, and restored just world beliefs. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 863-875.


Schmidt, S., Blank, T. O., Bellizzi, K., & Park, C. L. (2012). The relationship of coping strategies, social support, and attachment style with posttraumatic growth in cancer survivors.  Journal of Health Psychology, 17, 1033-1040.


Exline, J. J., Park, C. L., Smyth, J. M., & Carey, M. P. (2011). Anger toward God: Five foundational studies emphasizing predictors, doubts about God’s existence, and adjustment to bereavement and cancer. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 129-148.


Park, C. L., Chmielewski, J., & Blank, T. O. (2010). Post-traumatic growth: Finding positive meaning in cancer survivorship moderates the impact of intrusive thoughts on adjustment in younger adults. Psycho-Oncology, 19, 1139-1147


Park, C. L. (2009). Overview of theoretical perspectives. In C. L. Park, S. Lechner, M. H. Antoni, & A. Stanton (Eds.), Positive life change in the context of medical illness: Can the experience of serious illness lead to transformation? (pp. 11-30). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Park, C. L., Edmondson, D., & Blank, T. O. (2009). Religious and non-religious pathways to stress-related growth in cancer survivors. Applied Psychology: Health & Well-Being, 1, 321-335.


Bellizzi KM, Miller MF, Arora N, & Rowland JH. (2007). Positive and negative life changes in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivors. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 34(2), 188-199.


Bellizzi KM & Blank TO. (2007). Cancer related identity and positive affect in survivors of prostate cancer. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 1, 44-48.


Bellizzi KM & Blank TO. (2006). Predicting posttraumatic growth in breast cancer survivors.  Health Psychology, 25 (1), 47-56.