The impact of posttraumatic stress symptoms on social support and social conflict during hematopoietic stem cell transplant

James I. Gerhart, Yasmin Asvat, Teresa A. Lillis, Henry Fung, Johanna Grosse, Stevan E. Hobfoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose/Objectives: Social support and its relationship to psychological distress are of interest in hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) as patients are dependent on caregivers pre-, during, and posttransplant.  Although social support is critical for managing stress and trauma, posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) may erode social support and evoke conflict and abandonment within the support system. This study aimed to evaluate whether PTSS were associated with lower support and social conflict in a sample of patients undergoing HSCT. Design/Methods: Prospective relationships between PTSS, perceived social support, and social conflict were assessed in 88 participants across the first three months of HSCT (T0 Baseline; T1 +30; T2 +60; T3 +90). Findings: When individuals experienced increase above their own average levels of PTSS, they reported concurrent increase in social conflict (p <.001) and subsequent increase in social support in the following month (p =.026). Conclusion/Implications: Results suggest PTSS during stem cell transplantation may evoke social conflict, but over time, the support system may recalibrate to be more supportive. Patients undergoing HSCT may benefit from family and social-level interventions that specifically target the incidence of interpersonal conflict as it unfolds during the initial stages of HSCT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-318
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Oncology
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • posttraumatic stress
  • psychosocial oncology
  • social conflict
  • social support

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