Motivation of cancer patients to help others and the relation between posttraumatic growth and helping
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Warsaw Faculty of Psychology, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland
Poznan Faculty of Psychology, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poznan, Poland
Department of Medical Psychology, Medical University of Lodz, Poland
Independent researcher
Submission date: 2018-10-03
Final revision date: 2019-05-10
Acceptance date: 2019-05-16
Online publication date: 2019-07-11
Publication date: 2019-11-04
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2019;7(3):232-241
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.

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.

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

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