A closer look at social support as a moderator of stress in breast cancer

C S Roberts, C E Cox, V J Shannon, N L Wells
Health & Social Work 1994, 19 (3): 157-64
This study explored the effects of perceived social support from friends, family, and spouses on the psychological adjustment of 135 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Initial data analyses revealed moderate correlations between greater psychological distress and lower levels of social support. However, when the personality variable of social desirability was controlled for, the relationship between social support and well-being were substantially weakened or eliminated. It is concluded that characteristics of the person, rather than of the situation, underlie the apparent relationship between social support and adjustment to illness. Social workers are advised to make in-depth assessments of ego strengths and past psychological functioning as better predictors of patient adaptation to disease.

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