Women with breast cancer who receive unwanted support have more trouble adjusting to the disease than those who receive no support at all, a new study suggests.
Researchers Julie S. Reynolds and Nancy A. Perrin of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research and Oregon Health & Science University in Portland report in the journal Health Psychology that the negative effect of unwanted support was more substantial to the women’s psychosocial adjustment to their illness than was the positive effect of support they welcomed. “Women with breast cancer vary in the social support actions they want,” Reynolds and Perrin say. But there was no simple agreement among the women about what sort of support they wanted. Only 17 of the 40 items in the survey were consistently wanted or not wanted by the women.
Among the support items were statements like: “Asks if I want to go out,” “Helps take my mind off cancer,” “Reminds me things could be worse,” “Tries to understand my situation” and others. Matching the support a woman wants with what she receives is an important factor in her psychosocial adjustment to the disease, they say.
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