Search for meaning in long‐term cancer survivors

Shannon Ruff Dirksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


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

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-633
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of advanced nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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