Staying Positive in a Negative situation: Applying the positive health strategy in preventing distress in lung cancer patients

M.D. Nijkamp, Netty de Graaf, N.E. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

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Timely signaling of distress in cancer patients is important. Due to the focus on medical treatment, patients and healthcare providers often overlook other options for leading a higher quality, meaningful life with this critical illness. By shifting the emphasis to resilience and well-being (rather than ill-health), the patient can be empowered and distress may be prevented.


To compare the Distress Thermometer and the spider-web diagram, a visualization tool that represents patients’ assessments of different aspects of their lifes.


A quantitative study was carried out among lung cancer patients (n=112) at the Albert Schweitzer hospital in the Netherlands. They all completed the Distress Thermometer as well as the Spider-Web diagram (Dialogue tool 1.0 of the Institute for Positive Health), and a satisfaction questionnaire (min 1 to max 10).


The spider-web does not represent an external norm, it reflects the personal evaluation of the situation. Patients' satisfaction scores of the Spider Web exceeded the distress thermometer (8.0 ± 1.3 vs 6.9 ± 1.2). More specifically, they felt more able to state problems and concerns (t (- .67), p

Satisfaction and preference among patients was in favor of the Spider Web. It is recommended that oncology teams start a conversation about deploying the most appropriate instrument for prevention of distress, preferably aimed at mapping mental well-being and enhancing positive qualities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2022
EventEuropean Conference on Positive Psychology: Creating a world we want to live in - Reykjavic, Iceland
Duration: 29 Jun 20222 Jul 2022


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Positive Psychology
Abbreviated titleECPP 2022
Internet address


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