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Influence of social networks on cancer survivors’ self-management support: a mixed methods study

Influence of social networks on cancer survivors’ self-management support: a mixed methods study
Influence of social networks on cancer survivors’ self-management support: a mixed methods study

Objective: The role of social networks, especially weaker ties (e.g. casual acquaintances and hobby groups), in self-management of long-term consequences of cancer is unexplored. This study aimed to explore the structure of cancer survivors' social networks and their contribution to self-management support and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Methods: The study used a sequential, exploratory mixed methods design. Phase 1 surveyed 349 lymphoma, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer survivors. Phase 2 analysed 20 semi-structured interviews with respondents recruited from Phase 1. Results: Phase 1 results suggested participants' HRQoL increased if they participated in an exercise group, if their self-management skills increased, and social distress and negative illness perception decreased (p < 0.0005 adj. R 2 = 0.631). These findings were explored in Phase 2, identifying underlying mechanisms. Four themes were identified: disrupted networks after cancer treatment; navigating formal support and building individual capacity; peer networks and self-management knowledge and linking networks to enable adaptation in recovery. Conclusions: This study suggests engagement with community groups, particularly those not directly related to illness management and social interaction with weak ties, make a valuable contribution to self-management support, increase HRQoL and enhance well-being.

cancer survivors, mixed methods, self-management, social networks, social support
0961-5423
Howard-Jones, Gilly
acbe2b47-d08b-40fc-b265-2c5ff37535c4
Vassilev, Ivaylo
d76a5531-4ddc-4eb2-909b-a2a1068f05f3
Fenlon, Deborah R.
52f9a9f1-1643-449c-9856-258ef563342c
Ewings, Sean
15109e97-87cb-4687-b16b-854e398e7f1e
Howard-Jones, Gilly
acbe2b47-d08b-40fc-b265-2c5ff37535c4
Vassilev, Ivaylo
d76a5531-4ddc-4eb2-909b-a2a1068f05f3
Fenlon, Deborah R.
52f9a9f1-1643-449c-9856-258ef563342c
Ewings, Sean
15109e97-87cb-4687-b16b-854e398e7f1e

Howard-Jones, Gilly, Vassilev, Ivaylo, Fenlon, Deborah R. and Ewings, Sean (2022) Influence of social networks on cancer survivors’ self-management support: a mixed methods study. European Journal of Cancer Care, 31 (3), [e13578]. (doi:10.1111/ecc.13578).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objective: The role of social networks, especially weaker ties (e.g. casual acquaintances and hobby groups), in self-management of long-term consequences of cancer is unexplored. This study aimed to explore the structure of cancer survivors' social networks and their contribution to self-management support and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Methods: The study used a sequential, exploratory mixed methods design. Phase 1 surveyed 349 lymphoma, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer survivors. Phase 2 analysed 20 semi-structured interviews with respondents recruited from Phase 1. Results: Phase 1 results suggested participants' HRQoL increased if they participated in an exercise group, if their self-management skills increased, and social distress and negative illness perception decreased (p < 0.0005 adj. R 2 = 0.631). These findings were explored in Phase 2, identifying underlying mechanisms. Four themes were identified: disrupted networks after cancer treatment; navigating formal support and building individual capacity; peer networks and self-management knowledge and linking networks to enable adaptation in recovery. Conclusions: This study suggests engagement with community groups, particularly those not directly related to illness management and social interaction with weak ties, make a valuable contribution to self-management support, increase HRQoL and enhance well-being.

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European J Cancer Care - 2022 - Howard‐Jones - Influence of social networks on cancer survivors self‐management support A (1) - Version of Record
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Accepted/In Press date: 2 March 2022
Published date: May 2022
Additional Information: Funding Information: Thank you to the generous contribution of all participants, lead Network Research Nurses Tracey Dobson, Elizabeth Happel, Sophia Strong‐Sheldrake, Sabrina Farrugia & Melissa Williams and financial support from St. Bartholomew's League of Nurses. Funding Information: Gilly Howard‐Jones, Clinical Doctoral Research Fellow, NIHR CDRF‐2013‐04‐029, is funded by Health Education England (HEE)/National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for this research project. Professor Richardson is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. The authors have no conflict of interests to declare. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. European Journal of Cancer Care published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Keywords: cancer survivors, mixed methods, self-management, social networks, social support

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 456388
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/456388
ISSN: 0961-5423
PURE UUID: 2a7983ee-8c7f-4526-b6fd-9d962d52eb3f
ORCID for Ivaylo Vassilev: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2206-8247

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Date deposited: 27 Apr 2022 15:36
Last modified: 17 Dec 2022 02:45

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Contributors

Author: Gilly Howard-Jones
Author: Ivaylo Vassilev ORCID iD
Author: Deborah R. Fenlon
Author: Sean Ewings

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