Relationship between social support, physical symptoms, and depression in women with breast cancer and pain.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Fatigue and pain are common among women with breast cancer, and often related to depressive symptoms. Social support may influence levels of fatigue, pain interference, and depressive symptoms. We tested a theory-based, structural model examining the relationship between social support (i.e., emotional and instrumental) and depressive symptoms via fatigue and pain interference in women with breast cancer. METHODS: Women (N = 327) with stages I-III breast cancer were enrolled in a randomized trial investigating a behavioral pain intervention. Measures of social support, fatigue, pain interference, and depressive symptoms were completed at enrollment. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling to test direct and indirect pathways relating social support, fatigue, pain interference, and depressive symptoms. RESULTS: Our model evidenced good fit. Significant direct effects emerged linking higher levels of emotional support with lower levels of fatigue (β = -.30), pain interference (β = -.32), and depressive symptoms (β = -.31). More instrumental support was significantly associated with more depressive symptoms (β = .11), but not fatigue or pain interference. Higher levels of fatigue (β = .30) and pain interference (β = .34) were significantly related to higher levels of depressive symptoms. More emotional support related to less depressive symptoms via lower levels of fatigue (β = -.09) and pain interference (β = -.11). CONCLUSION: Women reporting higher levels of emotional support endorsed fewer depressive symptoms, and that relationship was driven by lower levels of fatigue and pain interference. Our results highlight novel pathways that healthcare professionals can leverage to optimize social support topics in psychosocial interventions targeting breast cancer symptoms. This model should be replicated using longitudinal data.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fisher, HM; Winger, JG; Miller, SN; Wright, AN; Plumb Vilardaga, JC; Majestic, C; Kelleher, SA; Somers, TJ

Published Date

  • September 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 5513 - 5521

PubMed ID

  • 33723675

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8919209

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1433-7339

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00520-021-06136-6

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • Germany