Cancer support group participation in the United Kingdom: a national survey.
ABSTRACT Existing data on cancer support groups come largely from small studies in specific geographic areas, particularly in the UK. This study was designed on a national scale to describe the characteristics of support group members and examine associations between group and participant variables and perceived outcomes.
A postal survey of support groups in the UK was performed with group leaders asked to distribute questionnaires to their members. Questionnaires included sections for demographic and medical information, group attendance, perceived outcomes and psychosocial variables.
From an original pool of 2,883 members from 206 groups, a total of 748 patient members within 172 support groups participated. Females comprised 68.2% of the sample, mean age was 65.4 ± 10.2 years, and 73.3% were retired. Post-secondary education was reported by 42.2%, and the proportion living in the two least deprived quartiles was 35.6%. Participants were a mean of 76.5 ± 67.4 months post-diagnosis, with 60.6% in remission. Breast cancer was the most common diagnosis (48.8%). The mean length of membership was 56.0 ± 54.7 months. Frequency of perceived benefits was positively associated with length of membership and attendance record. Psychosocial outcomes did not differ based on group variables.
Support group participants are more often female, white, retired, married and long-term cancer survivors. Contrary to earlier studies, support group members do not tend to have high educational achievements or socioeconomic status. Perceived benefits are highest among long-term members and regular attenders.
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ABSTRACT: In total, 132 cancer patients in four oncology outpatient clinics in Hamburg completed a questionnaire consisting of a newly designed instrument for measuring psychosocial support. In this questionnaire, patients were asked about their knowledge of institutions offering support, their previous participation in psychosocial support, the reasons for participation and their experience with and attitude towards it. A second section consisted of standardized instruments: the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire (Aaronson), the Brief Symptom Inventory (Derogatis and Melisaratos), the List of Physical Complaints (von Zerssen and Koller) and the Impact of Event Scale (Horowitz). Descriptive and variance-analytical methods were used for the analysis of results. Most respondents were women (88%). The largest group (72%) had a history of breast cancer. A total of 28% of the patients in the sample had participated in psychosocial support, about 4% of these in self-help groups. Participants in psychosocial support did not differ from non-participants in gender, but they were significantly younger. They showed considerably higher scores in emotional and physical distress than non-participants, their attitude towards psychosocial support was more positive, and they had more knowledge about institutions offering support than non-participants. The main reasons listed for their participation in psychosocial support were mental distress, a desire to obtain help, and the wish to cope with the illness. The main reason for not participating was sufficient support from the family, friends or doctors.Psycho-Oncology 01/2001; 10(6):511-20. · 3.51 Impact Factor
Article: Nursing and cancer support groups.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper is to review the evidence on the effectiveness of support groups by reporting a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials evaluating support groups for patients with cancer. One of the most important nursing aims is to give patients with cancer emotional support and strengthen their adaptation to the disease. According to the literature, support groups for these patients are beneficial. Original studies from 14 databases published during the past 20 years in peer review journals were selected. Twenty studies with a randomized clinical trial design constituted the final meta-analysis sample. Methodological quality of the selected articles was checked using the Jadad Scale and the Checklist of Consort Statement. Demographic data were analysed using the SPSS program, and the heterogeneity calculation and effect size were analysed using the Rev-Man 4-.1-Metaview program. The results indicate that participation in a support group is associated with significant improvements in a patient's emotional state (depression and anxiety), illness adaptation, quality of life, and marital relationships. Support group participation for patients with cancer has a positive impact in various areas. Nurses should promote participation as a crucial part of their care.Journal of Advanced Nursing 09/2005; 51(4):369-81. · 1.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Factors that influence participation and long-term retention in cancer support groups were examined, through a study of 87 individuals who had dropped out of a cancer support group, and 26 individuals who had never attended such groups, using a combination of interviews and open-ended questionnaire responses. Support group attrition or non-attendance was positioned as resulting from both individual and group factors. Individual factors included resisting or leaving behind a cancer patient identity, presence of existing support, practical issues, and styles of coping. Group factors included mismatches between the group and the individual, lack of knowledge or nonreferral to groups, and problems within individual groups. These disparate factors underlying support group non-attendance need to be taken into consideration when planning support services, when developing programs of education, or when referrals to cancer support groups are made.Social Work in Health Care 02/2008; 47(1):14-29. · 0.62 Impact Factor