Alferi, S. M., Carver, C. S., Antoni. M. H., Weiss, S., & Durán, R. E.  (2001).  An exploratory study of social support, distress, and life disruption among low-income Hispanic women under treatment for early stage breast cancer.  Health Psychology, 20, 41-46.

Relations between distress and perceived availability of social support were examined in 51 Hispanic women being treated for early stage breast cancer.  We measured distress and different types (emotional, instrumental) and sources (spouse, women family, other family, friends) of support at pre-surgery, post-surgery, and at 3, 6, and 12 month follow-ups.  Emotional support from friends and instrumental support from spouse at pre-surgery predicted lower distress post-surgery. No other prospective benefits of perceived support emerged.  Distress at several time points predicted erosion of subsequent support, particularly instrumental support from women in the family.  In contrast to the adverse effects of distress (and independent of them), illness-related disruption of recreational and social activities at 6 months elicited greater support at 12 months.

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University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology