Positive psychological functioning in breast cancer: An integrative review

Anna Casellas-Grau, Jaume Vives, Antoni Font, Cristian Ochoa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. This integrative review aimed to analyze the research into positive psychological functioning after breast cancer, and to integrate the most relevant findings relating to sociodemographic, medical and psychosocial factors.Relevant outcomes were identified from electronic databases (Medline, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Scopus, Cochrane, CINAHL, and Wiley Online Library) up to July 2015. A Google search was performed to identify unindexed literature. Dissertations and theses were searched on Proquest Dissertations and Theses, DIALNET and TDX. Selection criteria included empirical studies assessing relationships between breast cancer and positive functioning, without restrictions on type of participants.In total, 134 studies met the inclusion criteria. The sociodemographic, medical, and psychosocial characteristics associated with well-being, posttraumatic growth, finding benefit and meaning were being young, undergoing chemotherapy, and having social support. The last two of these characteristics were time-oriented. The culture of the different samples and positive dispositional characteristics like optimism had an influence on the women's coping styles. Socioeconomic status and level of education were also associated with positive psychological functioning.The perceived impact of breast cancer on patient, as well as the perceived support from significant others can result in better functioning in women with breast cancer. The results highlight that oncology health professionals should take into account not only the individual and medical characteristics, but also the stage of the oncological process and the psychosocial environment of patients in order to promote their positive functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-168
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Breast cancer
  • Integrative review
  • Positive psychology
  • Posttraumatic growth
  • Psycho-oncology
  • Well-being


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