Social Support and Survival: a Longitudinal Study of Blood and Lymphoid Cancer Patients After Allogeneic hct
G. Stadler1, A. Yogman1, E. Hada1, M. Riccio1, R. Kingston1, R. Jakubowski1, S. Riley1, E. Scigliano1, L. Isola1, W. Redd1
1Columbia University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, USA
Background: Close relationships have been linked to morbidity and mortality in healthy individuals and patient populations, with effect sizes comparable to risk factors such as smoking and obesity (e.g., Holt-Lunstad, Smith, & Layton, 2010). The pathways that explain the protective effect of close relationships are still unknown. The current study aims to understand the link between social support from a dedicated caregiver to survival in blood and lymphoid cancer patients after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant. Methods: We present data from a retrospective study of patient charts (N = 117) and a prospective multi-method study (N = 30). Findings: Caregiver presence correlated with increased probability for survival post-allogeneic transplant. The multi-method study pointed to concrete caregiver support strategies facilitating survival during this harsh treatment (e.g., practical support for daily medication and fluid intake, nutrition, healthcare system navigation; emotional support: encouragement and calming presence). Discussion: The findings underscore the need for studying the links between support strategies with health outcomes.