Social Support and Self-Esteem in Patients Afflicted with Cancer in the Reproductive Organs, Including Breasts

Issue: Vol.2, No.2 - January 2003

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Article Type: Manuscript

  1. Dr Carina Bertero
    Assistant Professor, University College of Health Science, Department of Nursing Science
  2. Inez Johansson

Social support is generally considered as having positive effects on cancer patients' health and well being by supporting the patient to manage the crisis. But, a cancer diagnosis and its treatment do often have negative effects on self esteem and the cancer patients' life-concepts. The relationship between perceived social support and self-esteem among cancer patients were identified and explored in present study.

Two hundred and sixteen respondents, living in the south of Sweden, completed the Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. The sample consisted of 116 females and 100 males, ranged in the age from 26 to 82. The majority of the sample was married, had children and grandchildren. The average duration of illness was 5 years. The average number of people in each network was 8.0, and relative and friends were most frequently listed.

The majority of the sample scored high self-esteem and statistical significance was shown in relation to age. No statistical significance was shown with respect to self-esteem and social support, but moderate correlations were found. Strongest correlations were found between emotional support and self-esteem. Increased knowledge about cancer patients' long term experience is needed in order to perceive them as patients with a chronic disease.

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