J Korean Acad Adult Nurs.  1998 Aug;10(2):369-384.

Factors Influencing Family Functioning in Families with Breast Cancer in the Mother


The purpose of this study was : 1) to develop and test a theoretical model examining relationships among social support( and social network size ), illness demands, marital adjustment, family coping, and an outcome measure of family functioning in response to a mother's breast cancer in the early postdiagnostic phase ; 2) to investigate the sources of functional social support : and 3) to assess characteristics of social support networks for Korean families with breast cancer. This study used a cross-sectional, correlational design with a causal modeling methodology to test the specified relationships in the recursive theoretical model. the convenience sample of this study consisted of 82 married Korean couples with recently diagnosed breast cancer in the child-rearing mother. Six standardized questionnaires were used to measure the theoretical concepts : social support (ISSB), social network(ASSIS), illness demands(DOII), marital adjustment(DAS), family coping(F-COPES), and family functioning(FACESII). The theoretical model was tested on the aggregated couples' data( family data ) and on mothers and fathers data. Path analysis results from the mothers and the fathers revealed different patterns. A core set of predictive variables were identified with three data sets showing consistent effects on family functioning level-marital adjustment and family coping, marital adjustment and family functioning, and family coping and family functioning. Namely, the level of family functioning was directly and positively affected by family coping behavior and the level of marital adjustment ; the level of marital adjustment had a direct positive effect on family coping behavior. In two reduced models from couples' and mothers' data, three sets of predicted relationships were supported, social support and marital adjustment, and s and marital adjustment. The level of social support received had a direct positive effect on both the level of marital adjustment and family coping behavior, and the experienced illness demands had a direct negative effect on the level of marital adjustment. Few significant gender differences were found in terms of 1) actual and perceived network sizes, need for support, and satisfaction with the support received for each type of functional social support, 20 total network size encompassing all types of functional social support, as well as, 3) the amount of functional social support received. These findings may prove useful for health care professionals working with Korean families with breast cancer or other chronic illness.


Family functioning; Social support; Causal modeling
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