eISSN: 2353-561X
ISSN: 2353-4192
Current Issues in Personality Psychology
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3/2019
vol. 7
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Motivation of cancer patients to help others and the relation between posttraumatic growth and helping

Weronika Trzmielewska
,
Mariusz Zięba
,
Marta Boczkowska
,
Tomasz Rak
,
Szymon Wrześniowski

Current Issues in Personality Psychology, 7(3), 232–241.
Online publish date: 2019/07/11
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Background
Posttraumatic growth (PTG) is related to positive psychological changes following people’s struggle with trauma. The PTG model suggests that one of its possible consequences may be higher motivation towards helping behaviours. The aim of the research was to explore the influence of cancer illness on the motivation to help others, as perceived by participants, and the mechanisms behind such behaviour.

Participants and procedure
Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to explore the main motives to help others among cancer patients. The study also investigated the relation of perceived growth (PTG) and the frequency of providing help. Female cancer patients (n = 100) com-pleted a Polish version of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory and a questionnaire measuring frequency of providing help to-wards ill and healthy individuals. Some of the subjects (n = 29) were also interviewed to assess the main perceived motives to help others.

Results
Positive rho Spearman correlations between PTG and the frequency of help given towards ill individuals and healthy ones were found. Based on thematic analysis four motives of helping were identified: empathy, self-enhancement, internalized standards of behaviour, searching for the sense of life.

Conclusions
This findings highlight the positive association between cancer patients’ involvement in helping other cancer patients and posi-tive life changes after experience of cancer.

keywords:

cancer patients; coping with trauma; posttraumatic growth; prosocial behaviour

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