Social support eases psychological burden in brain tumour patients
Social support and being part of social groups can improve psychological wellbeing among brain tumour patients, a new study has found.
Administering the Brief Test of Adult Cognition by Telephone and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy, researchers assessed cognitive and physical function among 70 brain tumour patients (mean age, 51.29±12.08 years; 60 percent female). Different self-reported measures were also completed to evaluate social group membership (SGM), confidence in social support, depression, anxiety and life satisfaction.
Majority (45.7 percent) of the participants had benign tumours, while 35.8 percent had high-grade gliomas. Clinically significant depression and anxiety were reported in 40 percent and 56 percent, respectively.
Participants who thought of themselves as having greater physical impairments (perceived physical impairment, PPI) also tended to report weaker maintenance or loss of SGMs (r, –0.54; p<0.001), lower confidence in SGMs (r, –0.32; p<0.05) and fewer new SGMs (r, –0.23; p<0.05). Greater perceived cognitive impairment (PCI), in comparison, was tied to the loss of existing SGMs (r, –0.48; p<0.001).
Loss of SGMs, in turn, was significantly associated with stronger depression (r, –0.51; p<0.001) and anxiety (r, –0.53; p<0.001) symptoms, as well as poorer life satisfaction (r, 0.41; p<0.001). The same was true for lower confidence in SGMs.
Notably, SGM emerged as a moderator between physical and cognitive impairments and depression and anxiety. PPI, for instance, was significantly associated with depression and anxiety only in those with low confidence in SGMs (p<0.001 for both) but not at high confidence levels (p=0.85). The same was true for PCI and depression (low confidence: p<0.001; high confidence: p=0.13). The link between PCI and anxiety was independent of SGMs.