Use of social support during communication about sickle cell carrier status

Lisa Bradford, Sara J. Roedl, Stephanie A. Christopher, Michael H. Farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the use of social support behaviors by primary care providers during delivery of positive newborn screening results for Sickle Cell Anemia carrier status. Methods: Transcripts from 125 primary care providers who conveyed Sickle Cell Anemia carrier status to standardized parents were content analyzed using categories derived from Cutrona and Suhr's social support taxonomy. Frequencies and cross-tabulation matrices were calculated to study providers' social support utilization. Results: Results showed most primary care providers (80%) incorporate social support behaviors into delivery of Sickle Cell Anemia carrier results and most frequently employed social network (61.6%) and informational support (38.4%) behaviors. Providers used tangible aid (8%), esteem (1.6%), and emotional support (9.6%) behaviors less frequently. Conclusion: Cutrona and Suhr's taxonomy may be a useful tool for assessing supportive communication during the delivery of Sickle Cell Anemia carrier status and could be incorporated into population scale assessments of communication quality assurance. Practice implications: Primary care providers may need training in how to adapt supportive behaviors to parents' needs during communication of Sickle Cell Anemia carrier status. They also may benefit from specific training about how to use esteem and emotional support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-208
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Study data were collected as part of a larger project funded by NHLBI grants: R01-HL086691, R01-HL086691-02S1, & K01-HL072530 . Dr. Bradford receives support from a National Research Service Award #T32HP10030. Dr. Roedl receives support from a ARRA Recovery Act grant RC1HL100819 .


  • Communication
  • Newborn screening results
  • Patient-provider communication
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Social support


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