Being affected with cancer is a source of high stress for the patient.
The effectiveness of coping with this stress is dependent of various factors, among
which social support may play an important role. Social support has been reported
as beneficial for psychological functioning in people coping with a disease. The
objective of this study was to verify whether levels of perceived social support
are associated with adjustment in women who had had mastectomy and whether
types of social support are specifically linked to particular indices of adjustment.
Seventy women with a history of mastectomy completed: Disease-Related Social
Support Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, Disease-Related Appraisals Scale and
Acceptance of Life with the Disease Scale. Women who reported higher levels of
perceived social support revealed statistically significantly lower levels of depressive
symptoms, more intensely appraised their disease terms of challenge and value,
and less intensely in terms of obstacle/loss, and revealed higher acceptance of
life with the disease. Regression analysis showed that spiritual support was the
type of support which significantly accounted for the variance in majority of adjustment
indices. It can be stated that social support is a significant factor lowering
the risk of depressive symptoms and increasing the chances of optimal psychosocial
functioning in women who underwent mastectomy.
Key words: social support, spiritual support, mastectomy, depression, cognitive