Social support and coping in Chinese patients undergoing cancer surgery

Carmen W.H. Chan, Hei Chi Hon, Wai Tong Chien, Violeta Lopez

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Patients undergoing cancer surgery experience the threats from both cancer and surgery. The unique sociocultural characteristics of Hong Kong Chinese may affect their perception of social support and how they face these threatening experiences. Sixty eligible patients were recruited from 2 regional hospitals in Hong Kong. They were asked to respond to a set of questionnaires, including Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire (NSSQ), Informational Support Questionnaire, and Jalowiec Coping Scale, following cancer surgery. The results showed that although family members and spouse/partner represented the largest source of social support network, the overall quantity of social support received by Chinese patients after cancer surgery was low. Positive correlations were found between coping effectiveness with tangible support (r = 0.31, P < .05) and coping effectiveness with informational support (r = 0.52, P < .01). The findings of this study support the link between social support and successful coping following cancer surgery. Tangible and informational supports appear more relevant to effective coping than emotional support during the postoperative period. Inclusion of family members in patient care during the postoperative period is crucial. Special attention should be paid to those patients who are older and poorly educated as they may be highly at risk for inadequate social support. Further studies with other cultural groups are suggested in order to better understand the sociocultural factors associated with cancer care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-236
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer surgery
  • Chinese
  • Coping
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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