A study sought to explore the relationship between stigma and Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and its dimensions, namely general resilience resources (GRRs), namely, sense of coherence (SOC), social support, and coping skills, in patients with breast cancer. The results appeared in Frontiers in Psychology.
In this cross-sectional study, Stigma Scale for Chronic Illness 8-item version (SSCI-8), SOC-13, Medical Outcome Survey- Social Support Scale (MOS-SSS), Brief COPE, and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B) were analyzed in a convenience sample of 221 Iranian women (mean age, 47) with confirmed non-metastatic breast cancer.
The analysis showed that stigma was negatively correlated to all HRQoL’s dimensions (r = -0.27∼0.51, p < 0.05), SOC (r = -0.26∼0.35, p < 0.01), social support (r = -0.23∼0.30, p < 0.01), and the bulk of coping skills. The researchers observed that stigma affected all facets of SOC, social support, and positive reframing, which partially reduced breast cancer HRQoL.
The investigators noted that stigma affects general HRQoL through damaging meaningfulness, social support (except for tangible), and positive reframing. The researchers noted that meaningfulness was marked as the most impacted GRR in terms of all domains of HRQoL. In parallel mediation, reduced meaningfulness, total social support, and positive reframing were highlighted as the pathways of diminished breast cancer HRQoL.
“This study provides some novel findings, but longitudinal studies are needed to further verify these before any causal conclusion or recommendations for health policy can be drawn,” the researchers concluded.
Keywords: breast cancer, coping, psych-oncology, quality of life, sense of coherence, social support, stigma