Do all roads lead to Rome? An ideal-type study on trajectories of resilience in advanced cancer caregiving

Sophie Opsomer*, Luca De Clercq, Jan De Lepeleire, Sofie Joossens, Patrick Luyten, Peter Pype, Emelien Lauwerier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Studies on resilience in advanced cancer caregiving typically focus on the interplay between resilience-promoting resources and coping strategies that may be associated with resilience. However, no studies have investigated the emergence of trajectories of resilience and distress in individuals confronted with a cancer diagnosis of a loved one.
METHODS: Ideal-type analysis, a method for constructing typologies from qualitative data, was used to identify trajectories involving resilience or the lack thereof based on fifty-four interviews conducted with seventeen partners of patients recently diagnosed with advanced cancer over a period of three years.
FINDINGS: Six trajectories could be distinguished, three of which involved resilience (rapidly adapting resilience, gradually adapting resilience, and slowly adapting resilience), while the other three trajectories (continuing distress, delayed distress, and frozen disconnection) reflected a less optimal adjustment. These different trajectories seemed to be rooted in the individual characteristics of partners, the behavior of a support network, and interactions between the two.
CONCLUSION: The differentiation between these trajectories in partners of patients diagnosed with cancer not only furthers research on resilience in the face of adversity, but also promises to assist healthcare professionals in optimizing support for this often-neglected group of partners of patients diagnosed with cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0303966
Number of pages22
Issue number5 May
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Humans
  • Neoplasms/psychology
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Male
  • Female
  • Caregivers/psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Adult
  • Stress, Psychological


Dive into the research topics of 'Do all roads lead to Rome? An ideal-type study on trajectories of resilience in advanced cancer caregiving'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this