Lung cancer patients may experience greater emotional distress than patients with other cancers. Studies have shown social support to predict adjustment in other cancers, but findings among lung cancer patients have been equivocal. Coping style has been shown to predict distress among lung cancer patients, but has not been examined in the context of social support. We examined coping style and social support as predictors of depressive symptoms one week after surgery among 119 patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The Beck Depression Inventory was the primary outcome measure. Predictors included age, ECOG performance status, stage of disease, and measures of adaptive coping, less adaptive coping, Directive instrumental social support and Nondirective instrumental social support. Results indicated that 29% of lung cancer patients had scores above a standard cutoff for clinically significant depression. Results also showed that depressive symptoms were directly related to use of less adaptive coping methods and Directive instrumental social support, inversely related to age and use of adaptive coping methods, and unrelated to nondirective social support, stage of disease and performance status. Results extend previous findings by showing that adaptive coping methods are related to severity of distress, and that the benefits of social support may depend on the characteristics of that support.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.