Resilience in family caregivers of patients diagnosed with advanced cancer - unravelling the process of bouncing back from difficult experiences, a hermeneutic review.
Despite the risk for developing mental disorders, most of advanced cancer patients' family caregivers undergo a resilient process throughout the caregiving period. Research on resilience in caregivers of advanced cancer patients is scarce and further hindered by the lack of a univocal definition and a theoretical framework.
To provide clarity on the concept of resilience by proposing an integrative view that can support health care professionals and researchers in conducting and interpreting research on resilience.
The review process was inspired by the hermeneutic methodology: a cyclic review process, consisting of repeated searching and analysing until data saturation is reached and focussed on achieving a deeper understanding of ill-defined concepts. The definitions from eighteen reviews on resilience and the theoretical frameworks from eight concept analyses were analysed. The composing elements of resilience were listed and compared.
The American Psychological Association's definition of resilience and Bonanno's theoretical framework are suggested to guide further research on resilience. Moreover, four knowledge gaps were uncovered: (1) How do resilience resources interact? (2) What are the key predictors for a resilient trajectory? (3) How do the resilient trajectories evolve across the caregiving period? And (4) how does the patient's nearing death influence the caregiver's resilience?
To address flaws in conceptualisation and the resulting gaps in knowledge, we suggest a definition and a theoretical framework that are suited to allow heterogeneity in the field, but enables the development of sound interventions, as well as facilitate the interpretation of intervention effectiveness.