Many psychosocial factors have been reported to influence the duration of survival of breast cancer patients. We have studied how family members, hobbies and habits of the patients may alter their psychosocial status. Female patients with surgically treated breast cancer diagnosed between 1986 and 1995 at the Tochigi Cancer Center Hospital, who provided information on the above-mentioned factors, were used. Their subsequent physical status was followed up in the outpatients clinic. The Cox regression model was used to evaluate the relationship between the results of the factors examined and the duration of the patients' survival, adjusting for the patients' age, stage of disease at diagnosis and curability, as judged by the physician in charge after the treatment. The following factors were revealed to be significant with regard to the survival of surgically treated breast cancer patients: being a widow (hazard ratio 3.29; 95% confidence interval 1.32-8.20), having a hobby (hazard ratio 0.43; 95% confidence interval 0.23-0.82), number of hobbies (hazard ratio 0.64; 95% confidence interval 0.41-1.00), number of female children (hazard ratio 0.64; 95% confidence interval 0.42-0.98), smoker (hazard ratio 2.08; 95% confidence interval 1.02-4.26) and alcohol consumption (hazard ratio 0.10; 95% confidence interval 0.01-0.72). These results suggest that psychosocial factors, including the family environment, where patients receive emotional support from their spouse and children, hobbies and the patients' habits, may influence the duration of survival in surgically treated breast cancer patients.