Social support and adjustment to recurrence of breast cancer

Sonya S. Brady, Vicki S. Helgeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We explored the reciprocal relations between social support and adjustment following a recurrence of breast cancer. The sample was composed of 30 women, ages 34 to 80, 90% Caucasian, who had sustained a recurrence of breast cancer. Social support, coping, and adjustment were measured through telephone interviews on two occasions (T1 and T2) separated by 6 months. Emotional support from a partner and informational support from an oncologist were related to decreased physical problems over time, but were not related to psychological distress over time. Women’s use of positive reinterpretation appeared to mediate these relations. Interestingly, psychological distress was related to decreased partner emotional support over time. These results suggest that it is not enough to consider how social support may influence women’s adjustment; it is also important to consider how women’s adjustment may shape their social support networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-55
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible through a Small Undergraduate Research Grant from Carnegie Mellon University and NIH grant MH 19953.


  • Adjustment
  • Breast cancer
  • Coping
  • Recurrence
  • Social support


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