Medical Illness and Positive Life Change: Can Crisis Lead to Personal Transformation?

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The idea that people experience positive change from struggling with adversity is very old it appears in the oldest literature, both written and oral. However, only recently has this idea generated widespread empirical research attention. People often claim to experience improved relationships with family and friends, a clearer sense of one's own strengths and resilience, changed priorities about what is important in life, or various other positive changes after struggling with stressful or traumatic events. What are we to make of these claims? Can we determine whether perceptions of change reflect real, verifiable change that is, is it possible for someone to believe that he or she has grown while still exhibiting the same old self-defeating behaviors? Or, is the perception of change itself an important meaning reconstruction process? What factors influence personal growth, and what effect does growth have on physical and mental health?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433803963
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Publication date: 9/15/2008
  • Series: Decade of Behavior Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction Suzanne C. Lechner Lechner, Suzanne C. Crystal L. Park Park, Crystal L. Annette L. Stanton Stanton, Annette L. Michael H. Antoni Antoni, Michael H. 3

Pt. I Conceptual and Methodological Issues 9

1 Overview of Theoretical Perspectives Crystal L. Park Park, Crystal L. 11

2 Assessing Positive Life Change: In Search of Meticulous Methods Howard Tennen Tennen, Howard Glenn Affleck Affleck, Glenn 31

3 Challenges in Studying Positive Change After Adversity: Illustrations From Research on Breast Cancer Charles S. Carver Carver, Charles S. Suzanne C. Lechner Lechner, Suzanne C. Michael H. Antoni Antoni, Michael H. 51

Pt. II Developmental Issues 63

4 Benefit Finding Among Children and Adolescents With Diabetes Vicki S. Helgeson Helgeson, Vicki S. Lindsey Lopez Lopez, Lindsey Constance Mennella Mennella, Constance 65

5 Life Span Developmental Perspectives on Stress-Related Growth Carolyn M. Aldwin Aldwin, Carolyn M. Michael R. Levenson Levenson, Michael R. Linda Kelly Kelly, Linda 87

Pt. III Factors That Influence Positive Life Change 105

6 Lessons Learned About Benefit Finding Among Individuals With Cancer or HIV/AIDS Suzanne C. Lechner Lechner, Suzanne C. Kathryn E. Weaver Weaver, Kathryn E. 107

7 Illness Perceptions and Benefit Finding Among Individuals With Breast Cancer, Acoustic Neuroma, or Heart Disease Keith J. Petrie Petrie, Keith J. Arden Corter Corter, Arden 125

8 Positive Life Change and the Social Context of Illness: An Expanded Social-Cognitive Processing Model Stephen J. Lepore Lepore, Stephen J. William D. Kernan Kernan, William D. 139

Pt. IV Effects of Positive Life Change 153

9 Biological Correlates: How PsychologicalComponents of Benefit Finding May Lead to Physiological Benefits Julienne E. Bower Bower, Julienne E. Elissa Epel Epel, Elissa Judith Tedlie Moskowitz Moskowitz, Judith Tedlie 155

10 Is Benefit Finding Good for Individuals With Chronic Disease? Sara B. Algoe Algoe, Sara B. Annette L. Stanton Stanton, Annette L. 173

Pt. V Clinical Applications 195

11 Enhancing Positive Adaptation: Example Intervention During Treatment for Breast Cancer Michael H. Antoni Antoni, Michael H. Charles S. Carver Carver, Charles S. Suzanne C. Lechner Lechner, Suzanne C. 197

12 The Clinician as Expert Companion Richard G. Tedeschi Tedeschi, Richard G. Lawrence G. Calhoun Calhoun, Lawrence G. 215

Afterword 237

Author Index 241

Subject Index 251

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