Search for meaning in long-term cancer survivors



The purpose of this study was to explore search for meaning in long-term survivors of malignant melanoma and the relationship of this meaning to self-blame and well-being The sample consisted of 31 long-term melanoma survivors who had been free of disease for 5 years or longer Measures included the Search for Meaning scale, a single item on self-blame and the Index of Well-Being Data were analysed by descriptive statistics and t-tests Findings revealed that 52% (n = 16) of the sample did search for meaning which resulted in an identifiable cause for their cancer and a quiet reassessment of life Subjects indicating self-responsibility for their cancer expressed a greater meaning search than the group who did not blame self (P < 0.01) Well-being scores were not significantly related to this search for meaning Results suggest that for some survivors the cancer experience elicits a search for meaning which is significantly associated with self-blame This study extends developing nursing theory on survivorship by providing insight into the meaning of the cancer experience in long-term survivors