The concept that a traumatic experience, such as a cancer, can lead to a positive change and transformation of self, life and relationships was named as post-traumatic growth (PTG). A large amount of research measured PTG in cancer survivors arguing an interpretation of the construct as an outcome. Recently, qualitative research shows different types of narrative of PTG, but the narrative markers and their functions of transformation remain still unclear. Within a mixed-method, we aim to highlight the narrative markers and their transformative functions, underlying the PTG, within 12 cancer survivors’ narratives with medium/high and medium/low level of PTG. A redemptive sequence analysis was carried out. In the narratives with high/medium PTG we find a specific transformative function on-thinking focused transformation founded on the change/expansion of the own internal criteria to interpret the relationship with the world centralizing the self in the present and future; in the narratives with medium/low PTG we find an on-acting focused transformation, founded on the change of the operational procedures aimed to live centered on the present and on its moments.


Cancer Survivors, Trauma Experience, Post-Traumatic Growth, Narrative Markers, Transformative Functions, Meaning-Making, Clinical Implications

Author Bio(s)

Maria Luisa Martino, is PhD in the Department of Humanistic Studies and Post Doc Researcher in the SInAPSi Center for Active and Integrated Inclusion of Students, at Federico II University, Naples, Italy. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: marialuisa.martino@unina.it.

Maria Francesca Freda, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanistic Studies at Federico II University, Naples, Italy. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to:fmfreda@unina.it.

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