Exploring the level of post traumatic growth in kidney transplant recipients via network analysis

Yuri Battaglia, Luigi Zerbinati, Martino Belvederi Murri, Michele Provenzano, Pasquale Esposito, Michele Andreucci, Alda Storari, Luigi Grassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although kidney transplant can lead to psychiatric disorders, psychosocial syndromes and demoralization, a positive post-traumatic growth (PTG) can occur in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs). However, the PTG-Inventory (PTGI), a reliable tool to measure PTG is scarcely used to explore the effect of this stressful event in KTRs. Thus, the purpose of our study was to assess the level of PTG and its correlation with demoralization, physical and emotional symptoms or problems via network analysis in KTRs. Additionally, we aimed at exploring the association of PTG with psychiatric diagnoses, Diagnostic Criteria for Psychosomatic Research (DCPR) conditions, and medical variables. A total of 134 KTRs were tested using MINI International Neuropsychiatric Interview 6.0 (MINI 6.0), DCPR interview, PTGI, Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS), Canadian Problem Checklist (CPC) and Demoralization scale (DS-IT). PTGI was used to investigate the positive psychological experience of patients after KT. It consists of 21 items divided in five factors. Routine biochemistry, immunosuppressive agents, socio-demographic and clinical data were collected. A symptom network analysis was conducted among PTGI, ESAS and DS-IT. Mean score of PTGI total of sample was 52.81 ± 19.81 with higher scores in women (58.53 ± 21.57) than in men (50.04 ± 18.39) (p < 0.05). PTGI-Relating to Others (16.50 ± 7.99) sub-score was markedly higher than other PTGI factor sub-scores. KTRs with DCPR-alexithymia or International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision (ICD-10) anxiety disorders diagnosis had lower PTGI total score and higher PTGI-Personal Strength sub-score, respectively (p < 0.05). The network analysis identified two communities: PTGI and ESAS with DS-IT. DS-IT Disheartenment, DS-IT Hopelessness and PTGI Relating to Others were the most central items in the network. After 1000 bootstrap procedures, the Exploratory graph analysis revealed the presence of a median of two communities in the network in 97.5% of the bootstrap iterations. A more extensive use of PTGI should be encouraged to identify and enhance the positive psychological changes after KT.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4747
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Alexithymia
  • Anxiety
  • CPC
  • DCPR
  • Demoralization
  • Distress
  • ESAS
  • Kidney transplantation
  • MINI
  • Network analysis
  • Post traumatic growth
  • Psychiatric morbidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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