Do Social Constraints Always Hurt? Acculturation Moderates the Relationships Between Social Constraints and Physical Symptoms of Chinese American Breast Cancer Survivors

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Social constraints are social conditions that restrain individuals from talking about their feelings and thoughts related to their stressors. Social constraints have been shown to have significant negative health implications among cancer survivors in Western cultures. However, their impact on health is less known among Asian American cancer survivors. The present study examined how the association between social constraints and physical symptoms may vary as a function of acculturation among Chinese American cancer survivors. Ninety-six Chinese American breast cancer survivors were recruited from Chinese community organizations to complete a questionnaire package. Results of regression analysis showed a significant main effect of social constraints, and an interaction effect between social constraints and acculturation, on physical symptoms. Simple slope tests revealed a significant positive association between social constraints and physical symptoms among highly acculturated Chinese American breast cancer survivors but not among those with low levels of acculturation. The findings pointed to the significance of understanding acculturation in breast cancer survivorship among minority women, especially its interplay with self-disclosure.

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