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The effect of community-based social support on the health-related quality of life of pediatric oncology patients

25 July 2013


Recent developments in pediatric oncology have focused on minimizing hardships and improving outcomes, such as health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Research has identified multiple evidence-based techniques and other interventions aimed at minimizing distress and improving functioning. One important factor in improving HRQOL is social support as the two constructs are positively linked. A particular type of social support, community-based social support (CBSS), has been provided to pediatric cancer patients and their families in an effort to improve the treatment experience. Although the effect of individual and familial social support on the HRQOL of pediatric populations has been investigated, research on CBSS and its effect on HRQOL among pediatric cancer patients has been lacking. The purpose of the current study was to examine the effect of one specific CBSS program, the Chemo Palâ program, developed by the Children’s Cancer AssociationÓ, and to assess the impact of this program on the HRQOL of pediatric cancer patients. The small sample size (n = 3) precluded conclusions. Interview data suggested positive impacts of CBSS services on HRQOL through distraction, anxiety reduction, comfort during medical procedures, and mood improvement. Additionally, positive impacts of CBSS services on social support were reported through respite, socialization/friendship, and in some cases continued contact with families post-treatment as part of CBSS services. Overall, the current study served to operationalize CBSS services and provide initial insights into these services and how they affect pediatric cancer patients and their families.


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