Resilience in family caregivers of patients diagnosed with advanced cancer – unravelling the process of bouncing back from difficult experiences, a hermeneutic review

Publication type: 
Article
Author(s): 
Sophie Opsomer et al.
Citation: 

Opsomer, S. (2020) Resilience in family caregivers of patients diagnosed with advanced cancer – unravelling the process of bouncing back from difficult experiences, a hermeneutic review. European Journal of General Practice, 26:1, 79-85, DOI: 10.1080/13814788.2020.1784876

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Description: 

Background: Despite the risk for developing mental disorders, most of advanced cancer patients’ family caregivers undergo a resilient process throughout the caregiving period. Research on resilience in caregivers of advanced cancer patients is scarce and further hindered by the lack of a univocal definition and a theoretical framework.

Objectives: To provide clarity on the concept of resilience by proposing an integrative view that can support health care professionals and researchers in conducting and interpreting research on resilience.

Methods: The review process was inspired by the hermeneutic methodology: a cyclic review process, consisting of repeated searching and analysing until data saturation is reached and focussed on achieving a deeper understanding of ill-defined concepts. The definitions from eighteen reviews on resilience and the theoretical frameworks from eight concept analyses were analysed. The composing elements of resilience were listed and compared.

Results: The American Psychological Association’s definition of resilience and Bonanno’s theoretical framework are suggested to guide further research on resilience. Moreover, four knowledge gaps were uncovered: (1) How do resilience resources interact? (2) What are the key predictors for a resilient trajectory? (3) How do the resilient trajectories evolve across the caregiving period? And (4) how does the patient’s nearing death influence the caregiver’s resilience?

Conclusion: To address flaws in conceptualisation and the resulting gaps in knowledge, we suggest a definition and a theoretical framework that are suited to allow heterogeneity in the field, but enables the development of sound interventions, as well as facilitate the interpretation of intervention effectiveness.

 

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Year of publication : 
2020
Magazine published in: 
European Journal of General Practice