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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

versión On-line ISSN 2071-9736
versión impresa ISSN 1025-9848

Health SA Gesondheid (Online) vol.16 no.1 Cape Town  2011




Character strengths of adolescent survivors of childhood cancer



Tharina GuseI; Gloria EracleousII

IDepartment of Psychology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
IINeuro-developmental Clinic, Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa





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.


Daar is toenemende belangstelling in moontlike positiewe uitkomste vir kinders wat kanker oorleef het. Hierdie studie het ondersoek hoe karaktersterktes na vore kom in adolessente wat as kinders met kanker gediagnoseer is in vergelyking met dié in 'n groep gesonde adolessente. Die studie het ten doel gehad om vas te stel of spesifieke karaktersterktes meer opvallend na vore kom in adolessente wat kanker oorleef het. Die deelnemers is deur middel van gerieflikheidsteekproefneming gekies. Die twee groepe het bestaan uit adolessente wat as kinders met kanker gediagnoseer is (n = 21) en 'n groep gesonde adolessente (n = 21). Deelnemers het die Values in Action Inventory for Youth (VIA-Youth) (Park & Peterson 2006) voltooi ten einde karaktersterktes te bepaal. Daar was geen beduidende verskil tussen die karaktersterktes van die adolessente wat kanker oorleef het en die gesonde groep nie, anders as met 'n soortgelyke vroeëre studie onder volwassenes (Peterson, Park & Seligman 2006). Dit blyk dat die ervaring wat met ernstige siekte soos kanker gepaardgaan, ontwikkeling van karaktersterktes nóg bevorder nóg belemmer het in hierdie groep adolessente kankeroorwinnaars. Verdere navorsing is nodig om aspekte van positiewe sielkundige funksionering in adolessente kankeroorwinnaars te verstaan.



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Tharina Guse
PO Box 524, Auckland Park 2006, South Africa

Received: 25 Feb. 2010
Accepted: 29 Sept. 2010
Published: 28 Feb. 2011

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