Social support among women who died of ovarian cancer

Jody M. Jackson, Sharon J. Rolnick, Steve S. Coughlin, Christine Neslund-Dudas, Mark C. Hornbrook, Jeanne Darbinian, Donald J. Bachman, Lisa J. Herrinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Goals of work: We investigated the effects of social support in the last 6 months of life for women who died of ovarian cancer. Materials and methods: The study population included women enrolled in one of three Managed Care Organizations who died of ovarian cancer (1995-2000). Information was collected on demographics, living environment, presence of escorts to oncology encounters, comorbidities, medications, outpatient and inpatient encounters, and referrals to home health and hospice. Two characteristics of social support were examined: living with others and being escorted to one or more oncology visits. Results: Of 421 subjects, both aspects of social support were known for 345 (82%). Of these, 227 (66%) lived with others and were escorted, 33 (10%) lived with others but were never escorted, 59 (17%) lived alone but were escorted, and 26 (8%) lived alone and never were accompanied. Women living alone were less likely to be taking a psychotropic medication (57% vs 70%, p = 0.021) and were somewhat less likely to receive hospice referral (42% vs 53%, p = 0.054). Women who were never escorted had fewer outpatient encounters (12.60 vs 15.77, p = 0.033) and were less likely to be referred to home health (18% vs 30%, p = 0.046). Conclusions: This study indicates that social support has some beneficial effects on receipt of personal health services. Friends and family may act as proponents for the patient in obtaining services. Health care professionals should be encouraged to assess the cancer patient's social situation and identify areas where help may be needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-556
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Ovarian neoplasms
  • Psychological
  • Quality of life
  • Social support
  • Stress
  • Utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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