DOI: 10.1002/cncr.35182 ISSN: 0008-543X

Fostering resilience in adolescence and young adulthood: Considerations for evidence‐based, patient‐centered oncology care

John M. Salsman, Abby R. Rosenberg
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Adolescence and young adulthood are times of growth and change. For adolescents and young adults (AYAs) who are diagnosed with cancer, the demands of illness may compound normal developmental challenges and adversely affect physical, emotional, and social health. Nevertheless, AYAs have a tremendous capacity for psychosocial adaptation and resilience. Informed by the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping, observational studies in AYA oncology suggest consistent individual, social, and existential resources that may promote resilience. To date, few interventions have been designed to examine whether resilience can be taught and whether doing so affects patient‐centered outcomes. Findings point to the potential value of multicomponent programs that include various skills‐building strategies, such as stress management, mindfulness, gratitude, and positive reappraisal coping, among others. New research directions include the need to evaluate delivery strategies to enhance participant adherence and retention (e.g., eHealth modalities, optimization studies) and to examine program effectiveness in community‐based oncology practices (e.g., less resource‐rich settings in which most AYAs receive care). Ultimately, this scholarship may inform, refine, and strengthen intervention science in resilience more broadly.

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