Perceived stress mediates the effects of social support on health-related quality of life among men treated for localized prostate cancer

Department of Psychology, University of Miami, P.O. Box 248185 Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA.
Journal of psychosomatic research (Impact Factor: 2.74). 12/2010; 69(6):587-90. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2010.04.019
Source: PubMed


To examine the longitudinal effect of social support on general health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in men treated for localized prostate cancer, and to evaluate the role of perceived stress as a potential mediator of that relationship, in an ethnically and demographically diverse sample.
Psychosocial assessments were administered to a sample of 175 men at baseline, and 2 years later. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to investigate the relationships between social support, perceived stress and HRQOL, while controlling for possible covariates that may affect HRQOL (e.g., age, time since diagnosis, medical comorbidities, etc.).
Higher levels of social support at baseline predicted higher levels of HRQOL at 2-year follow-up after controlling for relevant covariates and baseline levels of HRQOL. This relationship was partially mediated by level of perceived stress at baseline. Furthermore, men perceiving high levels of social support reported significantly higher HRQOL compared with men perceiving low levels of social support.
Results indicate positive social relationships contribute to improved HRQOL in patients who have undergone treatment for localized prostate cancer. One pathway through which social support can benefit HRQOL is through lower perceptions of stress. Enhancing or maintaining social support and reducing perceived stress may be potential targets for future psychosocial interventions aimed at improving HRQOL.

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    • "Perceived social support can be defined as ‘the perception or experience that one is loved and cared for by others, esteemed and valued, and part of a social network of mutual assistance and obligations’ (Wills cited in [15]). Social support is positively correlated with health-related quality of life [16,17] and was identified by Fortin et al. [11] to be one of the most important factors predicting health-related quality of life in multimorbid patients. Therefore, understanding how social support and quality of life are related, can inform primary care interventions addressing multimorbid patients. "
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    • "In summary, social support may influence the relationship between coping and HRQoL by main, moderation and mediation effects. There is a pressing need to identifying the mechanisms through which social support operates on coping and HRQoL to facilitate the development of appropriately theoretically driven and targeted interventions (Zhou et al., 2010b) to address the prevalent unmet support needs of these men. "
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