Document Type : Original Article


Department of Psychology, Al‑Zahra University, Tehran, Iran


BACKGROUND : Cancer is one of the major health problems across the world that poses a great
threat to human health and active life in all age groups, causing numerous personal, familial, and
social damages in physical, mental and spiritual dimensions. The aim of the present study was
to investigate the effect of positive psychotherapy on happiness, character strengths, pleasure,
commitment, and semantic measures in the lives of people with cancer.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Within the framework of a quasi‑experimental design, 58 patients
suffering from cancer meeting the inclusion criteria (disease history and married) were selected via
purposeful sampling method. However, only 30 of the patients met the required criteria to participate
in all psychotherapy sessions. The participants were then randomly assigned to two intervention
and control groups (15 participants per group). The intervention group received eight 120‑min
sessions of positive psychotherapy on a weekly basis while the control group was put on the waiting
list. Data collection tools included the Oxford Happiness‑Depression Questionnaire and Values in
Action‑Inventory of Strengths. The participants completed the questionnaires before and after the
intervention. Data analysis was conducted by analysis of covariance.
RESULTS: The results of covariance analysis suggested that the use of positive psychotherapy has
been effective on increasing happiness (F = 0.129, P = 0.005), increasing character strength (F = 27.55,
P = 0.001), increasing the semantic measures (F = 15.23, P = 0.002), increasing pleasure (F = 8.51,
P = 0.005), and commitment (F = 64.19, P = 0.001) among patients with cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study indicated that positive psychotherapy has been
effective on happiness, strengths, pleasure, commitment, and semantic measures of the life among
people with cancer. Positive psychotherapy can be used to minimize the effects of cancer on patients.


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