Factors associated with cancer patients’ participation in support groups

Laurie J. Bauman, Robert Gervey, Karolynn Siegel

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85 Scopus citations


This study examined the participation in two support groups of 154 cancer patients treated at a large cancer center. The factors hypothesized to influence participation at monthly meetings were (1) demographic characteristics, (2) extent of participation in other voluntary associations, (3) help-seeking behavior, (4) availability of social support from family and friends, and (5) geographic distance from the hospital. Those most likely to participate were educated, younger, unmarried, ‘joiners” of other voluntary associations, and help seekers who had consulted mental health professionals. Geographic distance from the hospital was not a barrier to group participation. Social support had a complex relationship to participation. Patients with inadequate social support were especially likely to participate, but patients with high scores on family support and cohesiveness were most likely to attend. Open-ended interviews revealed that the participants’ major motivations for attending were to compare their own emotional and physical progress with others (relative comparison), learn more about their illness (informational support), and share concerns with other patients (self-help).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 22 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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