Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



This literature review will serve as the foundation for a book proposal detailing my own life story. Every life is a beautiful tapestry woven together of colorful threads, each representing a unique component of an individual’s experience. Trauma and adversity of some sort are undoubtedly part of every tapestry, and mine is no different. Using my personal experience with breast cancer, I examine the concept of post-traumatic growth, recognizing that stress and growth often co-exist and do not negate each other. Cancer is widely recognized as a trauma and is unique because of the threat of recurrence, meaning that the trauma never fully resolves. Post-traumatic stress disorder is associated with cancer, with many survivors experiencing anxiety and depression. The possibility for growth through the experience also exists, with one outcome being an enhanced appreciation for life. I suggest that although adversity cannot be prevented or controlled, we can choose our response. I present a specific type of gratitude, serene gratitude, which can foster growth and appreciation for life following trauma. It is my hope that by sharing my story others might begin to examine the possibility for growth after trauma in their own lives.


positive psychology, post-traumatic growth, positive emotion, gratitude, serene gratitude, breast cancer, trauma, narrative creation, positive rumination, character strengths


Well-Being/Flourishing, Character Strengths and Virtues, Counseling/Coaching, Positive Emotions


Book/Book Proposal, Literature Review



Date Posted: 16 September 2019