The Benefit Finding Scale


Cancer patients experience positive as well as adverse consequences from diagnosis and treatment. The Benefit Finding scale for breast cancer assesses the perception that positive contributions were made to one’s life by the experience of being diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer.  The original scale was developed by Vicki Helgeson at Carnegie Mellon University. The authors of the updated scale wrote a few additional items and distilled the set down a little by removing difficult and redundant items.  In an intervention study, the items tended to form a single factor.  In a later study, it was found that benefit finding early in the cancer experience predicted better psychosocial adjustment years later.


Scale psychometric information is available in: Tomich, P. L., & Helgeson, V. S. (2004). Is finding something good in the bad always good? Benefit finding among women with breast cancer. Health Psychology, 23, 16-23.

Author of Tool:

Carver, C. S.

Key references:

Tomich, P. L., & Helgeson, V. S. (2004). Is finding something good in the bad always good? Benefit finding among women with breast cancer. Health Psychology, 23, 16-23.

Antoni, M. H., Lehman, J. M., Kilbourn, K. M., Boyers, A. E., Culver, J. L., Alferi, S. M., Yount, S. E., McGregor, B. A., Arena, P. L., Harris, S. D., Price, A. A., & Carver, C. S.  (2001).  Cognitive-behavioral stress management intervention decreases the prevalence of depression and enhances benefit finding among women under treatment for early-stage breast cancer.  Health Psychology, 20, 20-32.

Carver, C. S., & Antoni, M. H. (2004).  Finding benefit in breast cancer during the year after diagnosis predicts better adjustment 5 to 8 years after diagnosis. Health Psychology, 26, 595-598.

Primary use / Purpose:

Measures positive consequences of diagnosis of breast cancer.

Benefit Finding

Cancer patients sometimes feel that having cancer makes contributions to their lives, as well as causing problems. Indicate how much you agree with each of the following, using these response options.

  • 1 = Not at all
  • 2 = A little
  • 3 = Moderately
  • 4 = Quite a bit
  • 5 = Extremely

Having had breast cancer …

  1. has led me to be more accepting of things.
  2. has taught me how to adjust to things I cannot
  3. has helped me take things as they
  4. has brought my family closer
  5. has made me more sensitive to family
  6. has taught me that everyone has a purpose in
  7. has shown me that all people need to be
  8. has made me realize the importance of planning for my family’s
  9. has made me more aware and concerned for the future of all human
  10. has taught me to be
  11. has led me to deal better with stress and
  12. has led me to meet people who have become some of my best
  13. has contributed to my overall emotional and spiritual
  14. has helped me become more aware of the love and support available from other
  15. has helped me realize who my real friends
  16. has helped me become more focused on priorities, with a deeper sense of purpose in
  17. has helped me become a stronger person, more able to cope effectively with future life