The Impact of Social Support on Psychological Distress Among Black Breast Cancer Survivors
The Mediating Role of Fear of Recurrence
Purpose: We examined the effect of social support (SS) on psychological distress among Black breast cancer survivors (BBCS), and tested fear of recurrence (FOR) as a mediator in 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), social support (Duke-UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire), and FOR (Concerns About Recurrence Scale). Statistical analyses were performed using PROCESS for SPSS.
Results: We found significant direct effects of SS on HADS-Depression (direct effect= -1.20, SE =.34, p < .001) and HADS-Anxiety (direct effect = -1.63, SE =.44, p < .001). The indirect effects of SS on psychological distress (anxiety and depression) through FOR were not significant (indirect effect= -.47, SE= .27, 95% CI: -1.09, -.003; indirect effect= -.06, SE= .11, 95% CI: -.33, .11).
Conclusions: This study indicates that social support and psychological distress play an important role in well-being of BBCS. 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?
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 manuscript has been received by 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
- The manuscript has been received by the Journal of Cancer Survivorship