Psychological distress, social support, self-management ability and utilization of social resources for female patients with cancer in Oncology Outpatient Settings in Taiwan

  • Chia-Tai Hung
  • Yen-Ju Chen
  • Jui-Chun Chan
  • Yuan-Yuan Fang
  • In-Fun Li
  • Hui-Hsuan Shih
  • Hsin-Yi Ku
  • Wen-Tzu Chiu
  • Yun-Hsiang LeeEmail author
Original Article


Oncology outpatient care centers generally subjugate patients’ psychosocial needs to their physical care requirements. Consequently, the patients’ self-management (SM) ability and utilization of social resources are essential in regulating their psychological distress (anxiety and depression). The study aims were (1) to examine the prevalence and severity of psychological distress in female cancer patients in outpatient settings in Taiwan and (2) to identify the major factors of psychological distress. Female cancer patients were recruited from oncology outpatient settings in Taiwan. Patients completed the questionnaires of anxiety, depression, social support, and utilization of social resources, and SM ability. In total, 116 patients were included. A total of 17.2% and 21.6% of the patients were at risk of anxiety and depression, respectively. Patients’ mean anxiety and depression scores were 4.2 (SD = 4.1) and 4.1 (SD = 4.0), respectively. The patients’ physical function, attendance of social support groups, degree of social support, and SM ability had a significant effect on their anxiety and depression. Patients’ anxiety was intensified by the presence of comorbidity. Health professionals in oncology outpatient care centers should assess the patients’ physical function, comorbidity, SM ability, and social support/engagement in order to reduce their psychological distress and devise appropriate follow-up interventions.


Anxiety Depression Cancer Female Self-management Utilization of social resources 



We would like to thank the patients at the medical center in northern Taiwan for their voluntary participation in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

Institutional Review Board approval of Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan (16MMHIS113).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NursingMackay Medical CollegeNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of NursingDa-Yeh UniversityChanghuaTaiwan
  3. 3.Shool of Nursing, College of MedicineNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Nursing, Mackay Memorial HospitalTaipei & New Taipei CityTaiwan
  5. 5.Division of Chest and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal MedicineMackey Memorial HospitalTaipei & New Taipei CityTaiwan
  6. 6.Department of Nursing, College of MedicineNational Taiwan University HospitalTaipeiTaiwan

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