Psychological resilience in adolescent and young adult survivors of lower extremity bone tumors

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Abstract

Background.

The psychosocial outcomes of young adult survivors of childhood bone tumors are not well known. This study: (a) examined perceived social support (SS) and benefit-finding (BF) with respect to surgical intervention, gender, and age; (b) compared SS and psychological outcomes to normative values; and (c) examined the relationship between these social and psychological outcomes and sexual functioning.

Procedure.

Twenty-eight participants (18–32 years) completed outcome-specific questionnaires for SS, BF, depression, self-worth, and sexual functioning. Surgical intervention was grouped into limb sparing (LS; allograft-fusion and endoprosthesis) and ablative procedures (AMP; amputation or Van Nes rotationplasty). Age at study was grouped into ≤25 or ≥26 years of age.

Results.

Compared to normative values, survivors reported significantly less depressive symptoms (P = 0.005), and higher self-evaluations of intellectual capabilities (P = 0.009). No significant differences in SS and BF were found between surgical and age groups. Males perceived significantly higher SS than females (P = 0.027). Significant positive correlations were found between perceived SS and sexual functioning (r = 0.397), sexual experiences (r = 0.423), and satisfaction with sexual relationships (r = 0.408). Negative correlation was found between global SS and depression scores (r = −0.397). Similar correlations were found with the subscales of the SS, depression, and self-worth measures. BF was significantly positively correlated only to SS (r = 0.552).

Conclusions.

Bone tumor survivors, particularly males, demonstrated remarkable psychosocial resiliency with SS possibly serving as a protective factor for survivors' psychological and sexual functioning.

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