Social Suppor Reported by Adult Blacks with Cancer

Lynette M. Richardson


This study investigated the perceived social support network of 20 adult Black cancer clients. Support system properties, functions, and quality as measured by the Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire were reported and compared to the social support data found in Norbeck's, Lindsey's and Carrieri's (1983) study of Employed adults. In addition, demographics of the sample were described and examinea for differences in reported social support networks. A convenience sample of State Cancer Clinic clients, 50 years of age or older, and infonned of the cancer diagnosis, was studied. Data were analyzed by descriptive, correlational, and analyses of variance statistics. Findings revealed several social support functional and network properties that were different from the original norming data. No significant difference (E < .05) was found in the quality of Black cancer clients' social support as compared to that reported in the normative data. The overall quality of social support was perceived as high by the Black cancer clients. There was a significantdifference in the mean number of total network members reported by females in the normative study and by those in the study of Black cancer clients with Blacks having fewer network members. There was also a significant difference in quantity lost and total losses between the male Black cancer clients and the male clients in the normative study. In addition, the number of listed network members correlated with quantity of social support lost, r = .778, and with number of grandchildren, r = .647. The number of grandchildren correlated with the quantity of social support lost, r = .866. An association was also found between religious participation and frequency of contact. The data support the importance of social supports for Black cancer clients, and emphasize the importance of recognizing the sources of such support and incorporating these persons in the plan of care.