Associations between social network, social support, and one-year health outcomes among older cancer patients

Ming Sun, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

Background: Cancer incidence is higher in the older population. A growing caseload will challenge the health care system; thus, it is important to investigate and identify factors that affect health outcomes among older cancer patients. Social networks and social support have been found to predict mortality among cancer patients. We explored associations between social network, social support, and one-year health outcomes among older cancer patients.^ Methods: This retrospective cohort study was conducted among older cancer patients ages 65 and above, admitted to the Healthy Aging program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center between January 2013 and March 2015. Data regarding demographics, social networks, cancer diagnosis, and other geriatric conditions were collected during comprehensive geriatric assessments. Data regarding social support were measured by self-report measures from RAND’s Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) questionnaire. Both overall and subdomains of social support (emotional, informational, tangible, affectionate, and positive social interactions) were assessed. One-year health outcomes, including unplanned hospital admission and 1-year mortality, were documented by medical records review. Pearson chi-square and Fisher exact tests were used to compare groups at baseline. Logistic regression was used to investigate the relative contribution of social network and social supports for unplanned hospital admission and 1-year mortality. ^ Results: Among 132 patients, 48 (36%) patients had at least one unplanned hospital admission, 30 (23%) patients deceased before they had any unplanned admission, and 54 (41%) of the patients who were alive, did not experience an unplanned hospital admission. The mean overall social support score was 82.4 ± 16.3. Descriptive analysis indicated that cancer type, overall social support and subdomains of social support (tangible and affection support) were significantly different between three outcome groups for unplanned hospital admission. However, in the logistic regression analysis only the association between perceived positive social interactions and unplanned hospital admission was statistically significant. Specifically, patients who perceived greater positive social interactions were less likely to experience an unplanned hospital admission than patients who perceived inadequate positive social interactions. No statistically significant associations were found between social network, social support, and 1-year mortality. ^ Conclusion: Further studies that correlate health outcomes with social network and social support may help to develop strategies or interventions to improve clinical practices, to enhance quality of life and meaningful survival in older cancer patients.^

Subject Area

Social research|Public health|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Sun, Ming, "Associations between social network, social support, and one-year health outcomes among older cancer patients" (2016). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10248407.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI10248407

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