Cancer Survivors’ and Care Partners’ Audio Diaries on Stress and Social Support Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Publication date: Mar 26, 2024

To describe cancer survivors’ and care partners’ perceived stress and social support during the COVID-19 pandemic and assess the feasibility of audio diaries for assessing role-related needs and resources. Participants (N = 51; n = 28 survivors, n = 23 care partners) recorded three monthly audio diaries reporting stress and support experiences. Diaries were transcribed and content-analyzed using a hybrid approach. Stress-related content was inductively coded, and social support content was deductively coded by type (instrumental, information, emotional, companionship, appraisal; _705 = 0. 75) then inductively coded. Descriptive statistics summarized sociodemographic data and compared coding frequencies by role. We developed narrative summaries of stress and support categories and selected quotes for contextual detail. Cancer-related stressors were most prevalent (28. 8%), followed by work (26. 8%), family (23. 1%), social isolation (13. 4%), and finances (8. 0%). While no significant difference in reporting frequency was observed between roles, cancer-related stress was more prevalent for survivors while work-related stress was mentioned more by care partners. Emotional support was the most prevalent support type (32. 1%), followed by companionship (25. 3%), appraisal (17. 9%), instrumental (16. 67%), and informational support (8%). Survivors reported more appraisal support than care partners (χ = 6. 48, df = 1, P = . 011) and more support for self-care, while care partners expressed more other-oriented concerns and focused more on managing responsibilities and interactions outside the household. The pandemic complicated and intensified role-based stressors already present in the survivorship context. Our findings highlight the importance of informal social support networks, particularly when access to formal services is limited, and suggest that audio diaries can be an effective tool for assessing support needs and resources. Nurses and healthcare providers should tailor social support assessments to address the distinct support needs and individual resources of cancer survivors and their care partners. This is especially critical in contexts that limit access to care and formal services.

Concepts Keywords
Cancer Cancer survivors
Companionship Care partners
Diaries Social networks
Monthly Social support
Nurses Stress


Type Source Name
disease MESH Cancer
disease MESH COVID-19 Pandemic
disease VO monthly
disease VO frequency
disease MESH work-related stress
disease VO effective

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