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Integrative Literature Review on Psychological Distress and Coping Strategies Among Survivors of Adolescent Cancer

adolescents with cancer, psychological distress, coping strategies, early intervention
ONF 2020, 47(5), E131-E148. DOI: 10.1188/20.ONF.E131-E148

Problem Identification: Cancer survivors, particularly those diagnosed in adolescence, are faced with physical, mental, and emotional stressors associated with the disease and its treatment. These stressors add to the demand placed on survivors’ already taxed coping skills. This article reviews the literature on psychological distress experienced by survivors diagnosed with cancer during adolescence and the coping strategies they employed.

Literature Search: Three electronic databases (CINAHL®, PsycINFO®, PubMed®) were searched, and 19 studies were selected. Garrard’s matrix method guided this integrative review.

Data Evaluation: Gough’s weight of evidence framework was used to evaluate each study.

Synthesis: Analysis revealed important findings about the types of coping strategies used by adolescents during and after cancer treatment and the impact of each on levels of psychological distress.

Implications for Practice: Healthcare providers, who regularly assess for negative thoughts and unmet needs among survivors, may identify symptoms of psychological distress, intervene early, and facilitate better outcomes for their patients. Patient-centered interventions aimed at coping with psychological distress are most helpful.

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