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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 1025-9848

Abstract

GUSE, Tharina  and  ERACLEOUS, Gloria. Character strengths of adolescent survivors of childhood cancer. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.1, pp. 1-6. ISSN 1025-9848.

There is increased interest in possible positive outcomes for survivors of childhood cancer. This study investigated the manifestation of character strengths in adolescents who have survived cancer compared to that seen in healthy adolescents. The aim was to establish whether specific character strengths may be more prominent in adolescents who have survived cancer than in healthy adolescents. Two groups of participants, consisting of adolescents who have survived childhood cancer (n = 21) and a group of healthy adolescents (n = 21), were obtained through convenience sampling. They completed the Values in Action Inventory for Youth (VIA-Youth) (Park & Peterson 2006) as a measure of character strengths. No significant differences were found between the character strengths of adolescents who have survived cancer and their healthy peers, unlike the findings of a similar earlier study with adults (Peterson, Park & Seligman 2006). It is concluded that the experience of serious illness such as cancer neither hindered nor enhanced the development of character strengths in this group of adolescent survivors. More research is needed to understand positive psychological functioning in the aftermath of childhood cancer.

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