ERIC Number: ED290066
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Family Support and the Cancer Patient.
Dakof, Gayle A.; And Others
Research has shown that social support is psychologically beneficial to cancer patients, with support from families being especially important. A survey of the social support needs of 407 cancer patients and an in-depth interview study of 55 of those patients were conducted to examine issues concerning family support and cancer patients. Results from the survey demonstrated that, after accounting for prognosis, support was still related to patient well-being. The data suggest that family support is uniquely valuable to cancer patients. Patients in the second study reported that spouses were most helpful when they were physically present, expressed concern and affection, calmly accepted the illness, provided practical assistance, or were optimistic about the prognosis. Spouses were considered unhelpful when they were critical of the patient's response to cancer, minimized the personal impact of cancer, or expressed too much worry and pessimism. Similarly, other family members were considered most helpful when they expressed affection and concern, were physically present, or provided practical assistance; and unhelpful when they minimized the seriousness of the cancer or criticized the patient's response to the cancer. Future research should take a family systems perspective and examine ways in which family members (including the patient) mutually influence each other's attempts to understand and adapt to cancer. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (95th, New York, NY, August 28-September 1, 1987).