Perceived breast cancer risk, social support, and distress among a community-based sample of women

Sarah W. Kinsinger, Bonnie A. McGregor, Deborah J. Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Four dimensions of perceived social support (emotional/informational, tangible, affectionate, positive social interaction) were examined as moderators of the effect of perceived breast cancer risk on distress in a cross-sectional sample of 1,366 women recruited from the general population. Heightened perceived breast cancer risk predicted higher levels of depression, but only among women who reported low levels of perceived emotional/informational, tangible, affectionate, and positive social interaction support. Tangible and positive social interaction support mitigated the negative effect of heightened risk perception on anxiety. Perceived breast cancer risk was associated with greater cancer worry, regardless of the degree of social support perception. However, this association was weaker for women who perceived greater positive social interaction support. The results suggest that women's perceptions of social support availability can protect them against some of the adverse emotional consequences of heightened breast cancer risk perceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-247
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Cancer worry
  • Distress
  • Perceived cancer risk
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Oncology
  • Applied Psychology


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