Advertisement

Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 677–685 | Cite as

A prospective and population-based inquiry on the use and acceptability of peer support for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer

  • Melissa Legg
  • Melissa K. Hyde
  • Stefano Occhipinti
  • Philippa H. Youl
  • Jeff Dunn
  • Suzanne K. Chambers
Original Article
  • 130 Downloads

Abstract

The degree to which peer support is used and accepted as a supportive care approach by women with breast cancer is unclear. We examine peer support use across three major modalities (i.e. support groups, online platforms, one-on-one) and identify enablers and barriers to peer support using the beliefs framework of the theory of planned behaviour. A population-based sample of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer (n = 3105) who were on average 54.08 weeks since diagnosis completed mailed surveys at baseline measuring beliefs about peer support and intention. Peer support use was measured via telephone interview at baseline and prospectively at 12-month follow-up (n = 2780). In all, 37% of women had used at least one peer support service since diagnosis (support group = 20%, online = 18%, one-on-one = 10%). A path analysis examined what beliefs enabled or acted as barriers to peer support use at follow-up adjusting for past behaviour (i.e. baseline use), sociodemographic characteristics, and treatment. In order of relative strength, enablers included beliefs that peer support is an outlet for honest expression of feelings (β = .35), a source of empathy (β = .30), approved by doctors (β = .07), and approved by family/partner (β = .04). Barriers were beliefs that it encourages dwelling about breast cancer (β = − .06) and involves exposure to negative stories about this disease (β = − .04). Strategies which communicate the potential emotional support benefits of a shared illness experience and social approval by others, particularly the medical profession, may help to promote acceptance of peer support and encourage service uptake in breast cancer.

Keywords

Breast cancer Peer support Psychosocial care 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Carmen Connell and Carla Shield for research support.

Funding information

Data for this study was collected as part of a research project on breast cancer outcomes funded by Cancer Australia (grant number 1006339). Philippa Youl is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (#1054038).

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review data if requested.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. 1.
    Knobf MT (2011) Clinical update: psychosocial responses in breast cancer survivors. Semin Oncol Nurs 27(3):e1–e14.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soncn.2011.05.001 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mehnert A, Koch U (2008) Psychological comorbidity and health-related quality of life and its association with awareness, utilization, and need for psychosocial support in a cancer register-based sample of long-term breast cancer survivors. J Psychosom Res 64(4):383–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brédart A, Merdy O, Sigal-Zafrani B, Fiszer C, Dolbeault S, Hardouin JB (2016) Identifying trajectory clusters in breast cancer survivors’ supportive care needs, psychosocial difficulties, and resources from the completion of primary treatment to 8 months later. Support Care Cancer 24(1):357–366.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-015-2799-1 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dunn J, Steginga SK, Rosoman N, Millichap D (2003) A review of peer support in the context of cancer. J Psychosoc Oncol 21(2):55–67.  https://doi.org/10.1300/J077v21n02_04 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Legg M, Occhipinti S, Ferguson M, Dunn J, Chambers SK (2011) When peer support may be most beneficial: the relationship between upward comparison and perceived threat. Psycho-Oncology 20(12):1358–1362.  https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.1862 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    McCaughan E, Parahoo K, Hueter I, Northouse L, Bradbury I (2017) Online support groups for women with breast cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 3.  https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD011652.pub2
  7. 7.
    Hoey LM, Ieropoli SC, White VM, Jefford M (2008) Systematic review of peer-support programs for people with cancer. Patient Educ Couns 70(3):315–337.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2007.11.016 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kowalski C, Weber R, Jung J, Ansmann L, Pfaff H (2012) In-house information about and contact with self-help groups in breast cancer patients: associated with patient and hospital characteristics? Eur J Cancer Care (Engl) 21(2):205–212.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2354.2011.01309.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Michalec B, Willigen MV, Wilson K, Schreier A, Williams S (2004) The race gap in support group participation by breast cancer survivors. Eval Rev 28(2):123–143.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0193841X03260313 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Nápoles-Springer A, Ortíz C, O’Brien H, Díaz-Méndez M, Pérez-Stable E (2007) Use of cancer support groups among Latina breast cancer survivors. J Cancer Surviv 1(3):193–204.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-007-0029-7 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Rankin N, Williams P, Davis C, Girgis A (2004) The use and acceptability of a one-on-one peer support program for Australian women with early breast cancer. Patient Educ Couns 53(2):141–146.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0738-3991(03)00142-3 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Schou I, Ekeberg O, Karesen R, Sorensen E (2008) Psychosocial intervention as a component of routine breast cancer care—who participates and does it help? Psycho-Oncology 17(7):716–720.  https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.1264 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Winefield HR, Coventry BJ, Lewis M, Harvey EJ (2003) Attitudes of patients with breast cancer toward support groups. J Psychosoc Oncol 21(2):39–54.  https://doi.org/10.1300/J077v21n02_03 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Shaw BR, Hawkins R, Arora N, McTavish F, Pingree S, Gustafson DH (2006) An exploratory study of predictors of participation in a computer support group for women with breast cancer. Comput Inform Nurs 24(1):18–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Coreil J, Wilke J, Pintado I (2004) Cultural models of illness and recovery in breast cancer support groups. Qual Health Res 14(7):905–923.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732304266656 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Gray R, Fitch M, Davis C, Phillips C (1997) A qualitative study of breast cancer self-help groups. Psycho-Oncology 6(4):279–289.  https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-1611(199712)6:4<279::AID-PON280>3.0.CO;2-0 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Power S, Hegarty J (2010) Facilitated peer support in breast cancer: a pre-and post-program evaluation of women's expectations and experiences of a facilitated peer support program. Cancer Nurs 33(2):E9–E16.  https://doi.org/10.1097/NCC.0b013e3181ba9296 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Im EO, Chee W, Lim HJ, Liu Y, Guevara E, Kim KS (2007) Patients' attitudes toward internet cancer support groups. Oncol Nurs Forum 34(3):705–712.  https://doi.org/10.1188/07.ONF.705-71210.1188/07.ONF.705-712 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    McDonough MH, Sabiston CM, Crocker PRE (2008) An interpretative phenomenological examination of psychosocial changes among breast cancer survivors in their first season of dragon boating. J Appl Sport Psychol 20(4):425–440.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200802241857 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Parry DC (2007) “There is life after breast cancer”: nine vignettes exploring dragon boat racing for breast cancer survivors. Leis Sci 29(1):53–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Parry DC (2008) The contribution of dragon boat racing to women’s health and breast cancer survivorship. Qual Health Res 18:222–233.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732307312304 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Shaw BR, McTavish F, Hawkins R, Gustafson DH, Pingree S (2000) Experiences of women with breast cancer: exchanging social support over the CHESS computer network. J Health Commun 5(2):135–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Yaskowich KM, Stam HJ (2003) Cancer narratives and the cancer support group. J Health Psychol 8(6):720–737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Sandaunet A-G (2008) The challenge of fitting in: non-participation and withdrawal from an online self-help group for breast cancer patients. Sociol Health Illn 30(1):131–144.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9566.2007.01041.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ajzen I (1991) The theory of planned behavior. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 50(2):179–211.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-T CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Michie S, Johnston M, Abraham C, Lawton R, Parker D, Walker A (2005) Making psychological theory useful for implementing evidence based practice: a consensus approach. Qual Saf Health Care 14(1):26–33.  https://doi.org/10.1136/qshc.2004.011155 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Grande G, Arnott J, Brundle C, Pilling M (2014) Predicting cancer patients’ participation in support groups: a longitudinal study. Patient Educ Couns 96(2):229–236.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2014.05.003 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Grande GE, Myers LB, Sutton SR (2006) How do patients who participate in cancer support groups differ from those who do not? Psycho-Oncology 15(4):321–334.  https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.956 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Voerman B, Visser A, Fischer M, Garssen B, van Andel G, Bensing J (2007) Determinants of participation in social support groups for prostate cancer patients. Psycho-Oncology 16(12):1092–1099.  https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.1160 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Muthén LK, Muthén BO (1998-2010) Mplus User’s Guide, 6th edn. Muthén & Muthén, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Yli-Uotila T, Rantanen A, Suominen T (2013) Motives of cancer patients for using the internet to seek social support. Eur J Cancer Care 22(2):261–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Australia C (2014) Clinical guidance for responding to suffering in adults with cancer. Cancer Australia, NSW, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    National Breast Cancer Centre and National Cancer Control Initiative (2003) Clinical practice guidelines for the psychosocial care of adults with cancer. National Breast Cancer Centre, CamperdownGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Forsythe LP, Kent EE, Weaver KE, Buchanan N, Hawkins NA, Rodriguez JL, Ryerson AB, Rowland JH (2013) Receipt of psychosocial care among cancer survivors in the United States. J Clin Oncol 31(16):1961–1969.  https://doi.org/10.1200/jco.2012.46.2101 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Steginga SK, Smith DP, Pinnock C, Metcalfe R, Gardiner RA, Dunn J (2007) Clinicians’ attitudes to prostate cancer peer-support groups. BJU Int 99(1):68–71.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2006.06545.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Ussher JM, Kirsten L, Butow P, Sandoval M (2008) A qualitative analysis of reasons for leaving, or not attending, a cancer support group. Soc Work Health Care 47(1):14–29.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00981380801970673 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Cameron LD, Booth RJ, Schlatter M, Ziginskas D, Harman JE, Benson SR (2005) Cognitive and affective determinants of decisions to attend a group psychosocial support program for women with breast cancer. Psychosom Med 67(4):584–589.  https://doi.org/10.1097/01.psy.0000170834.54970.f5 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Legg M, Occhipinti S, Youl P, Dunn J, Chambers SK (2017) Needy or resilient? How women with breast cancer think about peer support. Psychooncology 26:2307–2310.  https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.4401 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Steginga SK, Dunn J (2001) The young women’s network: a case study in community development. J Community Appl Soc Psychol 11(5):381–388.  https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.633 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Sherman A, Pennington J, Simonton S, Latif U, Arent L, Farley H (2008) Determinants of participation in cancer support groups: the role of health beliefs. Int J Behav Med 15(2):92–100.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10705500801929601 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Meyer A, Coroiu A, Korner A (2015) One-to-one peer support in cancer care: a review of scholarship published between 2007 and 2014. Eur J Cancer Care 24(3):299–312.  https://doi.org/10.1111/ecc.12273 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Mens MG, Helgeson VS, Lembersky BC, Baum A, Scheier MF (2016) Randomized psychosocial interventions for breast cancer: impact on life purpose. Psychooncology 25(6):618–625.  https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.3891 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Sautier L, Mehnert A, Höcker A, Schilling G (2014) Participation in patient support groups among cancer survivors: do psychosocial and medical factors have an impact? Eur J Cancer Care 23(1):140–148.  https://doi.org/10.1111/ecc.12122 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Høybye MT, Dalton SO, Christensen J, Ross L, Kuhn KG, Johansen C (2010) Social and psychological determinants of participation in internet-based cancer support groups. Support Care Cancer 18(5):553–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Owen JE, Goldstein MS, Lee JH, Breen N, Rowland JH (2007) Use of health-related and cancer-specific support groups among adult cancer survivors. Cancer 109(12):2580–2589.  https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.22719 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Menzies Health Institute QueenslandGriffith UniversitySouthportAustralia
  2. 2.Cancer Research CentreCancer Council QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Public Health and Social WorkQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.University of the Sunshine CoastSippy DownsAustralia
  5. 5.Institute for Resilient RegionsUniversity of Southern QueenslandSpringfieldAustralia
  6. 6.School of Social ScienceUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  7. 7.Prostate Cancer Foundation of AustraliaSydneyAustralia
  8. 8.Health and Wellness InstituteEdith Cowan UniversityPerthAustralia

Personalised recommendations