"It's Kind of Complicated": A Qualitative Exploration of Perceived Social Support in Young Adult and Young Adult Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and/or Queer Cancer Survivors

Dana Ketcher, Maija Reblin, Kelly J. Mansfield, Rachael McCormick, Amber M. Skinner, Amy K. Otto, Karrin Tennant, Sarah E. Wawrzynski, Damon R. Reed, Kristin G. Cloyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This qualitative secondary analysis describes the perceived importance of familial, peer, and health system social support for an understudied group of cancer survivors: young adults (YAs), including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ). Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with YA cancer survivors as part of a study of social support networks and interactions. Team members conducted content analysis of interview transcripts; coding decisions were reviewed and discussed among the research team. Descriptions of social support were ultimately organized around family, peer, and health care system support. Results: Twelve YA survivors recruited using two National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and social media participated between August 2019 and May 2020. Survivors averaged 28.2 years old. Half of survivors self-identified as female; four survivors were LGBTQ. Participants described both the positives of social support, as well as barriers to meeting support needs, within the following three levels: familial, peer, and health care providers or system. Conclusion: YA survivors have needs that are often addressed by their families, peers, and the health care system. However, barriers such as complex relationship history and lack of targeted/tailored support programs can prevent survivors from receiving adequate support. The growing diversity and intersectionality represented in the YA population call for targeted support and training by the health care system to sufficiently support this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-570
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2022, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2022.

Keywords

  • LGBTQ
  • cancer survivors
  • social networks
  • social support
  • young adult

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