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Portrait of Chloe M. Martin

Assistant Professor

Chloe M. Martin

  • School of Liberal Arts
  • Social Sciences

The Impact of Social Support on Psychological Distress Among Black Breast Cancer Survivors
The Mediating Role of Fear of Recurrence

Purpose: To examine the effect of social support (SS) on psychological distress (depression and anxiety) among Black breast cancer survivors (BBCS), and the possible mediating effect of fear of recurrence (FOR) on this relationship.

Methods: Sixty-four BBCS (M = 57.8 years) completed a questionnaire assessing socio-demographic/clinical characteristics, psychological distress (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS-Anxiety and HADS-Depression]), social support (Duke-UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire [FSSQ]), and FOR (Concerns About Recurrence Scale). Mediation was tested using PROCESS for SPSS.

Results: The average SS score was M= 4.22 (SD= 0.97) (range= 1-5). The average total HADS-Depression and HADS-Anxiety scores were M= 2.56 and M= 5.80 respectively. The average FOR score was M= 2.72 (range= 1-6). There was a significant direct effect of SS on HADS-Depression (direct effect = -1.20, SE =.34, p < .001) and HADS-Anxiety (direct effect = -1.63, SE =.44, p< .001). Moreover, the indirect effect of SS on HADS-Anxiety through FOR was significant (indirect effect= -.47, SE= .30, 95% CI: -1.17, -.01). However, the indirect effect of SS on HADS-Depression through FOR was not significant (indirect effect= -.06, SE= .13, 95% CI: .36, .15).

Conclusions: This study indicates that social support, fear of recurrence and stress all play an important role in the psychological well-being of BBCS.

Implications for Cancer Survivors: This study underscores the value of assessing breast cancer survivors’ social support needs when devising survivorship care plans.

What was your research process like?
This was a cross-sectional survey research study using a community-based sample of Black breast cancer survivors in the DC Metropolitan area. The recruitment process was an immersive experience which required a great deal of relationship and trust building between the community and our research team for several years.

How long did you work on this before it was published?
Five years.

Does this work relate to your role at FIT? If so, how?
As a full-time psychologist in the Social Sciences Department at FIT, one of my goals is to utilize the fashion industry as a vehicle to promote cancer prevention and control among medically underserved and marginalized groups. I’ve been doing this through my teaching and by forming research collaborations between FIT and academic medical centers.

But it also felt like a natural project to undertake as a member of the faculty here. Without a doubt, FIT has contributed to my interest in fashion (and given me access to extraordinary resources in pursuing this interest). It has made me attuned to the convergence of art and fashion, a trend I only see deepening in the coming years.

What was your biggest challenge? What was most rewarding?
This work is rewarding because it’s innovative and unique. When you think of cancer prevention and control, fashion isn’t one of the first solutions that comes to mind. This is something I’m trying to change.

Is there other information we should know?
The co-authors and I are still finalizing the manuscript for submission to the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.

Have you published any other books or have any upcoming publications?
I have another manuscript that I’ll be submitting to the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in the Spring of 2023. Previous publications are listed in my NCBI Bibliography.

  • Professor at FIT since Fall 2022
  • Manuscript is being finalized for submission to the Journal of Cancer Survivorship