ENVIRONMENTAL SUPPORT AND PSYCHOSOCIAL ADJUSTMENT TO A MASTECTOMY

DEBRA NEUSCHEL JONES, Fordham University

Abstract

Increasing attention is being given to treating the psychosocial as well as the physical needs of mastectomy patients. As such, recent literature has focused on post-mastectomy psychological and social responses of patients, the variables that might mediate postoperative adjustment, and the development of counseling programs for these individuals. Based on these reports, the present study investigated and quantified the psychological, sexual, and social adjustment reactions to a mastectomy, the possible interaction of these reactions, and the role of environmental support in mediating these responses.^ It was hypothesized that correlations would be found between the degree of psychological adjustment difficulty and the degree of sexual and social adjustment difficulty. Further, it was predicted that married subjects would show more sexual and social adjustment difficulties and fewer psychological adjustment difficulties than non-married subjects. Finally, predictions were that those subjects who demonstrated high scores for any and all support factors (perception, active demonstration and effective utilization) would show better functioning in all areas measured. Subjects completed a battery of tests including the Body-Cathexis/Self-Cathexis Scale, SCL-90, Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory, Social Adjustment Scale - Self-Report, Perceived Social Support Scales and a Support Questionnaire.^ As predicted, significant correlations were found between psychological, sexual, and social adjustment. Significant differences were also demonstrated in the married/non-married comparison. Yet, contrary to predictions, the married group showed fewer sexual and social difficulties. However, as expected, the married group demonstrated fewer psychological problems than the non-married group. All hypotheses concerning the association of environmental support to adjustment were confirmed. Further, the family as well as the active display and effective use of support were found particularly key.^ Based on these results, several recommendations were made. The nature of adjustment differences between married and non-married patients warrants further clarification. Also, future studies should use in-depth data gathering procedures and collect information from family members in addition to mastectomy patients. Finally, more must be done to provide effective support networks for mastectomy patients through the involvement of family members and medical personnel and through the development of counseling programs to meet the psychosocial needs of these individuals. ^

Subject Area

Social psychology

Recommended Citation

JONES, DEBRA NEUSCHEL, "ENVIRONMENTAL SUPPORT AND PSYCHOSOCIAL ADJUSTMENT TO A MASTECTOMY" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8323533.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8323533

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