Socio-demographic, psychosocial and attitudinal predictors of help seeking after cancer diagnosis

Steginga, Suzanne K., Campbell, Alistair, Ferguson, Megan, Beeden, Alison, Walls, Melissa, Cairns, Will, and Dunn, Jeff (2008) Socio-demographic, psychosocial and attitudinal predictors of help seeking after cancer diagnosis. Psycho-Oncology, 17 (10). pp. 997-1005.

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OBJECTIVE: The objective is to describe cancer patients' patterns of use of psychosocial support services and identify socio-demographic, psychosocial, and attitudinal predictors of service utilization.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of 439 cancer patients (61.2% response) at a regional tertiary cancer center assessed patterns of support service utilization, cancer-specific distress, social support and constraints, and attitudes to help seeking.

RESULTS: Patients less frequently received advice about psychosocial support in comparison with treatment-related information. More than half the respondents were aware of social work support, support groups, and chaplain support; however, most did not utilize these services. For unaware patients, up to 47% would have utilized support services if they had known of their existence. The use of services was significantly related to being female, younger, and having greater cancer-specific distress, more positive and less negative attitudes to help seeking. Future intention to contact a health professional for psychological support was predicted by more positive subjective norms and outcome expectations, higher cancer-specific distress, and less negative attitudes to help seeking.

CONCLUSION: Initiatives that encourage distressed patients to use psychosocial care services should highlight positive outcomes. Educational programs for health professionals to support psychosocial care in oncology are needed.

Item ID: 17472
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1099-1611
Keywords: cancer; oncology; attitudes to help seeking; psychosocial support; predictors of service utilization
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2011 00:28
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1112 Oncology and Carcinogenesis > 111299 Oncology and Carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified @ 60%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920102 Cancer and Related Disorders @ 60%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920408 Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being) @ 40%
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