Interaction of social support and psychological stress on anxiety and depressive symptoms in breast cancer patients

Dong-Gen Liu, Shu-Sen Wang, Rou-Jun Peng, Tao Qin, Yan-Xia Shi, Xiao-Yu Teng, Xi Wang, Wei-Qing Chen, Zhong-Yu Yuan
Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention: APJCP 2011, 12 (10): 2523-9

PURPOSE: The aim of the present study was to assess the association of psychological stress and social support with anxiety and depressive symptoms in Chinese newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.

METHODS: Four hundred and one patients with breast cancer were recruited. Their demographic characteristics, psychological stress and social support were determined with a structured questionnaire, and their anxiety and depressive symptoms were assessed with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

RESULTS: Psychological stressors caused by breast cancer diagnosed originated from five major sources, as determined by factor analysis. These included "Worrying about health being harmed, " "Fear of decline of physical function, " "Fear of work being harmed, " "Worry about daily life and social relationship being restricted, " and "Fear of family being harmed. " Hierarchical linear regression analysis indicated that, after adjusting for gender, age, marital status, educational level, and duration of illness, solid social support can alleviate such symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that there are strong associations between patients' needs and psychological distress with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Social support might affect these associations in Chinese women with breast cancer.

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