Dependable social relationships predict overall survival in Stages II and III breast carcinoma patients

Karen L. Weihs, Samuel J. Simmens, Joan Mizrahi, Timothy M. Enright, Martha E. Hunt, Robert S. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objective: The effect of support, from dependable non-household relationships, on breast cancer progression was studied using a prospective, longitudinal design. Methods: Dependable social support was assessed in women with invasive breast carcinoma Stages II and III within 18 months after diagnosis. Disease outcome was monitored for 8 to 9 years. Cox regression analyses, including the Nottingham Prognostic Index (NPI) score of disease severity, tested the association between the number of dependable support persons and time to death. Results: Ninety participants listed between 1 and 16 dependable nonhousehold support persons (mean=6, S.D.=4). There were 21 recurrences and 16 deaths from breast cancer at the end of the study. The number of dependable supports predicted decreased mortality [RR=0.41 (0.21-0.80), P=.01] after controlling for NPI. NPI predicted increased mortality [RR=1.6 (1.0, 2.4), P=.05]. Conclusions: For patients with Stages II and III breast cancer, the number of dependable, nonhousehold relationships predicts decreased mortality, after accounting for disease severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-306
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Breast cancer
  • Psychosocial factors
  • Social support
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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