Effects of social support, hope and resilience on depressive symptoms within 18 months after diagnosis of prostate cancer

Journal article summarised extract: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 2021

Xinxin Zhao, Ming Sun, and Ye Yang

DOI 10.1186/s12955-020-01660-1

“The aim of the present study was to assess the depression among prostate cancer patients in China as well as to explore the protective effects of social support, hope and resilience on depression within the first 18 months of diagnosis.

Regarded as positive psychological resources, hope and resilience have been proven to be beneficial in cancer patients. Hope might provide cancer patients positive coping strategies for depression, including sustaining the movement toward achieving a goal and providing the pathways of reaching the desired goals. Resilient patients might show more emotional stability when faced with adversity and obstacle caused by cancer. These findings prompted us to believe that both positive experiences regarding one’s own goal and route (hope) and positive adaptation in the context of traumatic events (resilience) were important to effectively ameliorate and even overcome depressive symptoms in prostate cancer patients.

Results from a total of 564 effective respondents indicated that while prostate cancer patients suffered from depressive symptoms (65.9%), perceived social support (especially support from family), hope and resilience can be positive resources for reducing depressive symptoms.

The present study indicated that more effort should be devoted to improve social support (especially family support), as well as to elevate hope and resilience in prostate cancer patients. Provision of social support to family of prostate cancer patients could be substantial in reducing depressive symptoms. Family members also should not give up providing reassurance and spending time with patients.

Besides the direct effect of perceived social support on depression, prostate cancer patients who perceive more social support, especially support from family, might be more likely to experience higher hope and resilience, which in turn reduced their depressive symptoms. Additionally, the indirect effect of resilience was larger than that of hope in the multiple mediators analysis, indicating the importance of patients’ capacity to maintain and recover psychological well-being in the face of cancer.”

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