Date of Award

5-8-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lindsey L. Cohen

Second Advisor

Jordan Gilleland Marchak

Third Advisor

Betty Sao-Hou Lai

Fourth Advisor

Laura McKee

Abstract

Many youth with cancer experience positive outcomes, such as posttraumatic growth (PTG). This study aimed to understand the process that theoretically precedes PTG, often described as a shattering and rebuilding of world-views, for young adult survivors (YAS) of childhood cancer. Peer relationships (PR) and self-esteem (SE) were evaluated as two world-views that might be vulnerable to change during a youth’s cancer experience. In this study, YAS retrospectively reported their PR and SE before and during their cancer, and currently as survivors, in addition to current PTG. Six patterns of change in PR and SE across the cancer experience were identified. Individuals who endorsed a pattern that mirrored the process that theoretically precedes PTG in their SE, reported higher PTG than individuals who did not endorsed that pattern. Findings provide insight into how YAS remember their cancer experience and its impact on current circumstances and positive adaptation.

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