Posttraumatic growth in bereaved family members of patients with cancer: a qualitative analysis

Kayo Hirooka, Hiroki Fukahori, Kanako Taku, Sakiko Izawa, Asao Ogawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The death of a loved one has great impact on family members even when the death was expected. While negative changes are reported, some individuals also report personal growth, known as posttraumatic growth (PTG). Many studies on PTG have been performed using quantitative methods and suggest that PTG may differ according to the traumatic event and cultural background. Purpose: This study aimed to explore how Japanese bereaved family members of patients with cancer express their experience of PTG after the patient’s death by analyzing open-ended answers provided in a cross-sectional survey. Methods: Qualitative data were collected through a survey, and thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. The present study was part of a larger cross-sectional survey of bereaved families of patients with cancer. Data analyzed in the current study were obtained from 162 bereaved family members of patients with cancer. Results: We identified 18 sub-themes within five predefined major domains of PTG. Moreover, we also identified two additional themes: changed view of life and death, and awareness of health management. Conclusions: The experience of PTG of bereaved family members varied considerably. Future research on PTG experiences among groups from diverse cultural backgrounds would be beneficial for understanding the concept and its clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1424
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 1


  • Bereaved family
  • Cancer
  • End-of-life care
  • Home palliative care
  • Posttraumatic growth
  • Qualitative analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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