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Ways of Coping With Stress and Perceived Social Support in Gynecologic Cancer Patients

Yilmaz, Sema Dereli PhD; Bal, Meltem Demirgöz PhD; Beji, Nezihe Kzlkaya PhDıı; Arvas, Macit MD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000186

Background: Stress is commonly encountered among cancer patients and may be a challenge affecting immune system resistance. Social support may contribute positively to the health of cancer patients, playing a role in coping with stress.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether ways of coping are related to social support given to women with gynecologic cancer.

Methods: The study was performed as a cross-sectional design in a university hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, with 221 women with gynecologic cancer; the data were collected via 3 questionnaires, the first with sociodemographic and clinical features, the second with multidimensional scale of perceived social support, and the third with the scale of ways of coping with stress.

Results: Women with gynecologic cancer who were employed and declared their incomes as balanced and reported more years of education were more likely to perceive higher social support and to use the ineffective coping ways with stress at a lower rate (P < .05) than other participants. Based on correlational analysis, effective coping ways with stress increase as perceived social support from family, friends, significant other, and total increases (P < .05).

Conclusions: Social support from family members is the mainstay of coping with stress by women with gynecologic cancer.

Implications for Practice: Nurses are indispensable in increasing social support required by women with gynecologic cancer. Well-trained clinical nurses via in-service programs should be experienced and aware of women diagnosed with gynecologic cancer in need of social support during hospital visits and provide necessary guidance.

Author Affiliations: Department of Midwifery, Health Sciences Faculty of Selcuk University, Konya (Dr Yilmaz); Department of Gynecologic and Obstetrics Nursing, Health College of Karamanoğlu Mehmetbey University, Karaman (Dr Bal); and Department of Gynecologic and Obstetrics Nursing, Florence Nightingale Nursing Faculty of Istanbul University (Dr Beji); Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Cerrahpaşa Medical School of Istanbul University, Istanbul (Dr Arvas), Turkey.

The study was orally presented in ISPOG Congress in Berlin, Germany in May, 2013.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Sema Dereli Yilmaz, PhD, Department of Midwifery, Health Sciences Faculty of Selcuk University, Istanbul Yolu, Selcuklu, Konya, Turkey 42250 (

Accepted for publication June 18, 2014.

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