Surviving & Thriving: Exploring Resilience After Cancer
Health Care Professionals
Locus of Control
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. College of Social Work Honors Theses; 2016
This study compares cancer survivors who have and have not participated in support groups and/or survivorship activities in terms of locus of control, hope, life satisfaction, and hardiness. The expected number of cancer survivors by 2024 will be about 19 million. It is critical for health care professionals and social workers to gain knowledge about resilience, including the role of participation in support groups and/or survivorship activities. An online survey was used to collect data from 43 men and women, aged 20 to 50, and 2 to 5 years post-cancer treatment. Participants first indicated their involvement in cancer support groups and/or survivorship activities (25 yes, 18 no). Subsequently, participants completed health locus of control, hope, hardiness, and life satisfaction scales. Participants then answered qualitative questions about the nature of their involvement in support groups and/or survivorship activities and their reasons for joining or not. Independent sample t-tests demonstrated no significant difference between participators and non-participators on any of the variables except for life satisfaction: t (39)= 2.39, p=.022, 95% CI= .924, 11.05. Those who participated in support activities had a higher mean. The types of survivorship activities participants described were group fundraising, online, and formal support groups. They participated for four reasons: fellowship, supporting others, fundraising, and research. Some people chose not to participate because they were too frightened of their diagnosis, it wasn’t needed (minor cancer), not needed (other support), it wasn’t available, or they couldn’t relate. What they gained from involvement in these activities ranged from nothing to knowledge, purpose, kinship, and emotional/physical health. Sources of support non-participators utilized included family, friends, doctors, faith, workplace, and themselves. In conclusion, there are multiple pathways to resilience, including but not limited to formal support and survivorship activities. Professionals could better connect people to survivorship resources, helping them thrive after cancer.
Academic Major: Social Work