A Systematic Literature Review and Head-to-Head Comparison of Social Support and Social Constraint in Relation to the Psychological Functioning of Cancer Survivors

Jessica N. Rivera Rivera, Jessica L. Burris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Quality of life is a multidimensional concept that includes perceptions of one's physical, psychological, social, and spiritual functioning, all of which are theorized to be interdependent. The focus of this study is social functioning, which itself is a multidimensional concept that includes social support and social constraint among other things. In cancer survivors, social support receives most of the research attention, but social constraint may have a stronger influence on quality of life. Purpose: This systematic literature review evaluates which aspect of social functioning - social support or social constraint - has a stronger relationship with the psychological functioning of cancer survivors. Methods: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed in the identification and review of 32 independent records. Multiple measures of social support and social constraint were used across studies, with most having adequate psychometric properties. Psychological outcomes were divided into (a) general distress, (b) cancer-specific distress, (c) general well-being, and (d) cancer-specific well-being. Results: For general and cancer-specific distress, social constraint exhibited a larger association with distress than social support. Similarly, for general well-being, most studies reported a stronger association with social constraint than social support. For cancer-specific well-being, the opposite was true such that associations were stronger for social support than social constraint. Conclusions: Results highlight the importance of considering social constraint when examining quality-of-life outcomes like psychological distress and well-being. Findings support social constraint as a target in interventions to reduce cancer survivors' distress, while social support could be considered in attempts to promote cancer-specific well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-192
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 9 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Society of Behavioral Medicine. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Psychological functioning
  • Social constraint
  • Social support
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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