Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Melissa Lundquist


Master of Social Work


The purpose of this systematic literature review was to explore the question: How does using hope and optimism effect the psychosocial adjustment to a diagnosis of breast cancer in women? The electronic databases used to identify studies for this review included PsycINFO (PsycNet), SocINDEX, and MEDLINE. Five quantitative studies met criteria and were reviewed and analyzed. The four themes that emerged within these studies were; optimism levels, medical and demographic variables, coping strategies, and fear of cancer recurrence. The research shows that differing levels of optimism linked with other coping strategies, such as; focusing on the positive, fighting spirit, active acceptance, turning to religion, and social support improved the psychosocial adjustment, well-being, and/or quality of life for women across time. Additional research is required to understand the full impact that personality traits such as, hope and opti-mism, can have on the psychosocial adjustment for breast cancer survivors.

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Social Work Commons