Posttraumatic growth, social support, and social constraint in hematopoietic stem cell transplant survivors

Maria Nenova*, Katherine Duhamel, Vance Zemon, Christine Rini, William H. Redd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective The relation between posttraumatic growth (PTG) and aspects of the social context, such as social support and social constraint, continues to be unclear in cancer survivors. Social cognitive processing theory is a useful framework for examining the effect of the social context on PTG. In theory, support interactions may either facilitate or hinder cognitive processing and thus lead to different PTG outcomes. The current study tested the hypothesis that emotional support and instrumental support would each explain a unique amount of the variance in PTG in distressed hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) survivors. Additionally, it was predicted that social constraint on cancer-related disclosure would be negatively associated with PTG. Methods Forty-nine distressed HSCT survivors with a spouse or partner completed the posttraumatic growth inventory and measures of social support received from their spouse/partner and social constraint from people close to them as part of a larger clinical trial. Results Both emotional and instrumental social support were positively correlated with PTG, and social constraint on disclosure was not associated with PTG. Contrary to hypotheses, instrumental support was the only unique social contextual predictor of PTG. Conclusions The results of this study highlight the importance of examining the effects of subtypes of social support on PTG separately. Findings are discussed in the context of the cognitive (i.e., processing of the traumatic event) versus non-cognitive (i.e., buffering stress) pathways between the social context and PTG. Future research directions are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
JournalPsycho-oncology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Keywords

  • cancer
  • oncology
  • posttraumatic growth
  • social constraint
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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