Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 433–444

Optimism, social support, and adjustment in African American women with breast cancer

  • Rebecca A. Shelby
  • Tim R. Crespin
  • Sharla M. Wells-Di Gregorio
  • Ruth M. Lamdan
  • Jamie E. Siegel
  • Kathryn L. Taylor
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10865-008-9167-2

Cite this article as:
Shelby, R.A., Crespin, T.R., Wells-Di Gregorio, S.M. et al. J Behav Med (2008) 31: 433. doi:10.1007/s10865-008-9167-2

Abstract

Past studies show that optimism and social support are associated with better adjustment following breast cancer treatment. Most studies have examined these relationships in predominantly non-Hispanic White samples. The present study included 77 African American women treated for nonmetastatic breast cancer. Women completed measures of optimism, social support, and adjustment within 10-months of surgical treatment. In contrast to past studies, social support did not mediate the relationship between optimism and adjustment in this sample. Instead, social support was a moderator of the optimism-adjustment relationship, as it buffered the negative impact of low optimism on psychological distress, well-being, and psychosocial functioning. Women with high levels of social support experienced better adjustment even when optimism was low. In contrast, among women with high levels of optimism, increasing social support did not provide an added benefit. These data suggest that perceived social support is an important resource for women with low optimism.

Keywords

Social support Optimism Breast cancer African American Psychological adjustment 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca A. Shelby
    • 1
  • Tim R. Crespin
    • 2
  • Sharla M. Wells-Di Gregorio
    • 3
  • Ruth M. Lamdan
    • 4
  • Jamie E. Siegel
    • 5
  • Kathryn L. Taylor
    • 6
  1. 1.Duke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Primetrics, Inc.ColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Temple University School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Thomas Jefferson University HospitalPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.Lombardi Cancer CenterGeorgetown University School of MedicineWashingtonUSA