Presentation Title

Peer Perceptions and Social Support for Young Adults on the Cancer Continuum

Start Date

April 2020

End Date

April 2020

Major Field of Study

Psychology

Student Type

Undergraduate - Honors

Faculty Mentor(s)

Veronica Fruiht, PhD

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

From processing a cancer diagnosis to treatment, social support is essential and beneficial to the wellbeing of young adults with cancer (Breuer et al., 2017). However, while on the cancer continuum, individuals report a sense of social isolation due to a lack of understanding among peers about their experiences and diagnoses (Iannarino et al., 2017). Increasingly, social support is given online rather than in person due to the positive language and communication that relies on the written word more than social cues (Warner et al., 2018). The goals of the present study were to determine how likely peers of a young adult on the cancer continuum are to show social support both virtually and in person, as well as how socially attracted they are to a peer with cancer. Participants in this study were 155 young adults recruited from a private university and via social media platforms. Participants were asked to complete a survey including The Measure of Interpersonal Attraction; Social Attraction sub-scale (McCroskey & McCain, 1974) and a measure of virtual and in person support while thinking of a peer who is in current treatment or in remission. Independent samples t-tests are expected to show differences between how willing peers are to show social support, such that young adults will feel more comfortable giving support virtually than in person, and will be more socially attracted to a peer in remission than in treatment. These results would support previous evidence that young adults on the cancer continuum receive low amounts of social support and bolster evidence of the shift from in person support to virtual support.

Comments

This presentation was accepted for the Scholarly and Creative Works Conference at Dominican University of California. The Conference was canceled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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Peer Perceptions and Social Support for Young Adults on the Cancer Continuum

From processing a cancer diagnosis to treatment, social support is essential and beneficial to the wellbeing of young adults with cancer (Breuer et al., 2017). However, while on the cancer continuum, individuals report a sense of social isolation due to a lack of understanding among peers about their experiences and diagnoses (Iannarino et al., 2017). Increasingly, social support is given online rather than in person due to the positive language and communication that relies on the written word more than social cues (Warner et al., 2018). The goals of the present study were to determine how likely peers of a young adult on the cancer continuum are to show social support both virtually and in person, as well as how socially attracted they are to a peer with cancer. Participants in this study were 155 young adults recruited from a private university and via social media platforms. Participants were asked to complete a survey including The Measure of Interpersonal Attraction; Social Attraction sub-scale (McCroskey & McCain, 1974) and a measure of virtual and in person support while thinking of a peer who is in current treatment or in remission. Independent samples t-tests are expected to show differences between how willing peers are to show social support, such that young adults will feel more comfortable giving support virtually than in person, and will be more socially attracted to a peer in remission than in treatment. These results would support previous evidence that young adults on the cancer continuum receive low amounts of social support and bolster evidence of the shift from in person support to virtual support.