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Quality of Life, Social Support, and Uncertainty Among Latina and Caucasian Breast Cancer Survivors: A Comparative Study

Angela Sammarco
Lynda M. Konecny
ONF 2010, 37(1), 93-99 DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.93-99

Purpose/Objectives: To examine the differences between Latina and Caucasian breast cancer survivors in perceived social support, uncertainty, and quality of life (QOL), and the differences between the cohorts in selected demographic variables.

Design: Descriptive, comparative study.

Setting: Selected private hospitals and American Cancer Society units in a metropolitan area of the northeastern United States.

Sample: 182 Caucasian and 98 Latina breast cancer survivors.

Methods: Participants completed a personal data sheet, the Social Support Questionnaire, the Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale-Community Form, and the Ferrans and Powers QOL Index-Cancer Version III at home and returned the questionnaires to the investigators via postage-paid envelope.

Main Research Variables: Perceived social support, uncertainty, and QOL.

Findings: Caucasians reported significantly higher levels of total perceived social support and QOL than Latinas.

Conclusions: Psychiatric illness comorbidity and lower level of education in Latinas were factors in the disparity of QOL.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses should be mindful of the essential association of perceived social support, uncertainty, and QOL in Latina breast cancer survivors and how Latinas differ from Caucasian breast cancer survivors. Factors such as cultural values, comorbidities, and education level likely influence perceived social support, uncertainty, and QOL.

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