Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Impact of Social Environment on Fear of Recurrence in African-American Breast Cancer Survivors: The Moderating Role of Emotional Intelligence
by Martin, Chloe M., Ph.D., Howard University, 2018, 129; 10928122
Abstract (Summary)

Background: Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment are traumatic experiences that leave an enduring sense of fear and worry about recurrence for most survivors. African-American breast cancer survivors experience moderate levels of fear of recurrence- a cancer-related maladaptive psychological outcome that involves worrying about cancer returning. Based on the social-cognitive processing theory, breast cancer survivors experience psychological distress when they have attempted to process the trauma of cancer within an environment that is not supportive. A previous study has found that breast cancer survivors with poor social environments (low social support and high social constraints) experience greater psychological distress and that emotional intelligence serves as a moderator in that relationship. No study to date has examined the impact of social environment on fear of recurrence and the usefulness of emotional intelligence as a moderator in African-American breast cancer survivors.

Purpose: This study sought to examine the relationships between social environment (social support and social constraints) and fear of recurrence and to examine emotional intelligence as a moderator in the relationships between the social environment and fear of recurrence in African-American breast cancer survivors.

Method: A community sample of 64 African-American breast cancer survivors completed a questionnaire assessing demographic and clinical variables, social support, social constraints, emotional intelligence, and fear of recurrence. The relationships between the social environmental variables (social support and social constraints) and fear of recurrence were examined using Pearson's r Partial Correlations. Using the PROCESS Macro for SPSS, moderation analyses were conducted to test emotional intelligence as a moderator in the relationships between the social environmental variables and fear of recurrence dimensions.

Results: Fear of recurrence was experienced by 60.9% of the sample. Contrary to expectations, increased social support was positively associated with increased fears of recurrence in the form of Role Worries, Health Worries, Womanhood Worries, and Death Worries (p<.05) indicating that participants with more social support tended to experience more fears of recurrence. As expected, increased social constraint was positively associated with increased fear of recurrence on all five dimensions ( p<.05) indicating that participants with more social constraints experienced more fears of recurrence. Also, emotional intelligence moderated the relationship between social support and death-related fears of recurrence, indicating that the positive relationship between social support and death related fears of recurrence no longer occurred at high levels of emotional intelligence.

Conclusion: The present study generated results that highlight the need to further explore the relationship between social environment, fear of recurrence, and emotional intelligence in African-American breast cancer survivors.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Taylor, Teletia R., Harrell, Jules P.
Commitee: Horton, Sara, Mwendwa, Denee, Williams, Carla D.
School: Howard University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: African American Studies, Black studies, Social psychology, Womens studies, Personality psychology, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: African-american, Breast cancer, Breast cancer survivors, Fear of recurrence, Oncology
Publication Number: 10928122
ISBN: 9780438638983
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