Mismatches in social support and psychosocial adjustment to breast cancer

Health Psychol. 2004 Jul;23(4):425-30. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.23.4.425.


Emotional support is known to provide psychosocial benefits for women with breast cancer, but women can experience a mismatch between support that is wanted and support that is received from their personal supporter. The role of wanted and unwanted support in psychosocial adjustment was examined in 79 women recovering from breast cancer. Four distinct patterns of desired support actions were found using cluster analysis. Patterns of wanted support were not related to better or worse psychosocial adjustment. However, a misalignment of support between the provider and the receiver significantly influenced psychosocial adjustment, and unwanted but received support (support commission) was uniquely associated with poor psychosocial adjustment. Clinical interventions using the support instrument could help match support providers' actions to receivers' preferences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychology
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Support*