Using social support to promote breast self-examination performance.

L. M. Lierman, Heather M Young, G. Powell-Cope, F. Georgiadou, J. Q. Benoliel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To describe support strategies used by selected partners and peer partners in a study examining the effects of support on adherence to breast self-examination (BSE). DESIGN: Experimental. SETTING: Large health maintenance organization in the Pacific Northwest. SAMPLE: 175 women (mean age of 61 years) and 53 partners selected by one of the study groups. METHODS: Subjects were assigned to one of three groups: selected-partner support, peer-partner support, and no support. All groups attended a BSE group instructional session consisting of group discussion, a BSE slide presentation, and one-on-one practice of BSE. Members of the selected-partner and peer-partner support groups wrote contracts to provide supportive activities over the subsequent six months to ensure BSE performance. At 6 and 12 months, all participants completed a questionnaire to determine BSE adherence and perceptions of the support experience. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Performance of BSE, supportive activities provided, and perceptions of support. FINDINGS: Selected partner/subject dyads identified nearly three times the total number of support strategies (147 versus 55) and had greater variability in the types of support categories developed. These subjects had significantly more contact from their support partners, were more comfortable with their partners, and indicated greater likelihood of continuing the supportive contact after the study period. CONCLUSIONS: Selected partners demonstrated more involvement and commitment in fulfilling their supportive role than did peer partners. Further research is needed that will allow more reciprocity between selected partner and subject. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Nurses can encourage women to recruit supportive partners who help them incorporate BSE into a health maintenance regimen in a consistent fashion. Partners can benefit from some structured orientation to the support process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOncology Nursing Forum
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology(nursing)


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