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Resilience in Adult Cancer Care: An Integrative Literature Review

Manuela Eicher
Martin Matzka
Catherine Dubey
Kate White
ONF 2015, 42(1), E3-E16 DOI: 10.1188/15.ONF.E3-E16

Problem Identification: In cancer care, empirical research and theory development on resilience has primarily been the domain of pediatric settings. This article aims to (a) describe current scientific perspectives on the concept of resilience, (b) summarize quantitative research on resilience in adult cancer care, and (c) identify implications for cancer nursing.

Literature Search: An integrative literature review using PubMed, CINAHL®, and PsycINFO databases was performed and full-text, peer-reviewed articles published since 2003 were included.

Data Evaluation: To summarize quantitative research, 252 articles were retrieved yielding 29 eligible studies, of which 11 articles were evaluated and synthesized. Appropriate articles were reviewed and data were extracted and tabulated for synthesis.

Synthesis: Resilience is a dynamic process of facing adversity related to a cancer experience. It may be facilitated through nursing interventions after people affected by cancer have been confronted with the significant adversity posed by diagnosis, treatment, (long-term) symptoms, and distress.

Conclusions: Resilience in adult cancer care is an under-researched area. Studies confirm the association with improved health outcomes (e.g., psychological well-being, mental and physical health).

Implications for Research: Resilience is an important issue for adult cancer care. Researchers must carefully define a conceptual framework for developing nursing interventions aimed at furthering resilience in adult cancer care.

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