Social networks of caregivers of patients with primary malignant brain tumor

Dana Ketcher, Maija Reblin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Family caregivers are increasingly recognized as a vital part of the comprehensive treatment of cancer. Many caregivers, especially those caring for patients with primary malignant brain tumor (PMBT), report feeling overwhelmed by providing care. Social support can be protective for caregiving, but there is little research on the composition of social networks of caregivers. The research describes these social networks. Caregivers were recruited from a neuro-oncology clinic at an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in the United States from May to August 2017. Caregivers listed social network resources that they either have approached or could approach for help in six caregiving areas. Twenty-eight caregivers provided social network data. Most caregivers had at least some support in each category, with the most people in hands on and emotional support. Communication and financial support were less populated and were most likely to have no resources listed. Most resources were unique to one support category, but a smaller number of resources provided multiple types of support. Our data provide information for targeting interventions to address support needs in caregivers of patients with PMBT. These findings also represent the first time the compositions of the social networks of caregivers of patients with PMBT have been presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1235-1242
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 26 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute under Grant [R03 CA201684-01]; American Cancer Society under Grant [MRSG 13-234-01-PCSM]. The authors are very grateful to the family members and patients who contributed their time for this research. We would like to acknowledge the expertise and support of Peter Forsyth, faculty, and staff in the neuro-oncology clinic at Moffitt Cancer Center, as well as Eduardo Mendivil, Lauren Kane, Justin Pok, Miriah Meyer, Yelena Wu, and Jim Agutter for their help in developing the social network tool.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Brain cancer
  • cancer
  • caregivers
  • social networks
  • social support


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