Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 79–90 | Cite as

Direct and Buffering Effects of Social Support Among Gynecologic Cancer Survivors

  • Kristen M. Carpenter
  • Jeffrey M. Fowler
  • G. Larry Maxwell
  • Barbara L. Andersen
Original Article



There are few studies of QoL among long-term gynecologic cancer survivors; available data suggest significant sequelae of disease and treatment. Research clarifying circumstances that improve difficult survivorship trajectories is lacking.


The present study examines whether social support moderates the relationship between physical functioning and psychological outcomes by testing the stress-buffering hypothesis.


Participants (N = 260) were gynecologic cancer survivors (cervical, n = 47; endometrial, n = 133; ovarian, n = 69; vulvar, n = 11). Compromised physical health was conceptualized as multidimensional. Social support (SNI, PSS-Fa, PSS-Fr, ISEL) was tested as a buffer of adverse psychological outcomes (IES-R, CES-D).


Results for traumatic stress provided evidence for buffering; whereas social support was of general benefit for depressive symptoms. Effects varied by source and type of support.


These results suggest that circumstances for gynecologic cancer survivors burdened with physical symptoms may be worse for those with fewer support resources, providing needed insight into a common target of psychosocial interventions for cancer survivors.


Gynecologic cancer Cancer survivorship Social support Traumatic stress Depressive symptoms 


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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristen M. Carpenter
    • 1
  • Jeffrey M. Fowler
    • 2
  • G. Larry Maxwell
    • 3
  • Barbara L. Andersen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Comprehensive Cancer CenterThe Ohio State University Medical CenterColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Gynecologic Disease Center and U.S. Military Cancer InstituteWalter Reed Army Medical CenterWashingtonUSA

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