Use of formal and informal mental health resources by cancer survivors: Differences between rural and nonrural survivors and a preliminary test of the theory of planned behavior

Michael A. Andrykowski, Jessica L. Burris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Previous research has identified rural residence as a risk factor for poorer mental health (MH) outcomes in cancer survivors. This may be due to less use of various MH resources due to poorer access and less favorable attitudes and social norms related to MH resource utilization. The present study sought to examine use of MH resources in rural and nonrural survivors and identify factors associated with MH resource use. Methods: Cancer survivors (n=113, 1-5 years postdiagnosis) completed a questionnaire packet and telephone interview. Accessibility and postdiagnosis use of various formal and informal MH resources were assessed along with constructs potentially linked to use of MH resources by the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; personal attitude, social norm, perceived behavioral control). Results: Results indicated no widespread differences between rural and nonrural cancer survivors in MH resource use although some evidence suggested poorer accessibility and less use of mental health professionals and cancer support groups among rural survivors. In general, rural survivors reported less favorable personal attitudes and social norms regarding MH resource use. TPB constructs accounted for a significant portion of variance in use of most MH resources with personal attitudes generally being the strongest predictor of MH resource use. Conclusions: Additional research is needed to expand the search for factors, particularly modifiable factors, which might account for disparities in MH outcomes between rural and nonrural survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1148-1155
Number of pages8
JournalPsycho-Oncology
Volume19
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Keywords

  • cancer
  • health behavior
  • health disparities
  • mental health
  • rural health
  • survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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