||5R01CA207540-03 Interpret this number
||Roswell Park Cancer Institute Corp
||The Influence of Social Network Size, Composition and Function on Psychological Outcomes of Pediatric Cancer Caregiving: Relationships Across Time and Around Periods of Distress
Childhood cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children, and parents of children with cancer
are at significant risk for symptoms of anxiety, distress, depression, and posttraumatic stress. Access to social
support buffers psychological adjustment for parents of children diagnosed with pediatric cancer, and parents
who have lower perceived social support are more likely to experience uncertainty, anxiety, depression, and
post traumatic stress symptoms. A problem, however, is that previous studies typically rely on global measures
of parents' perceptions of access to support, leaving important questions regarding the precise characteristics
of support networks that improve parental psychological outcomes unanswered. In this R01 program of
research by a new and early stage investigator we will use both prospective longitudinal social network data
and Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) to capture daily network experiences surrounding stressful
treatment events to examine how network characteristics at multiple levels (ego, alter, ties) shape access to
supportive resources and parental psychological outcomes. In Aim 1 we will collect prospective longitudinal
network data to examine how parents' social network characteristics evolve (e.g. size, composition,
online/offline) over time, and how the relationship between network characteristics and access to specific kinds
of supportive resources (e.g. informational, emotional, tangible) changes over time. We will also examine the
association between access to specific kinds of support and parental stress, anxiety, positive affect and
negative affect over time. In Aim 2 we will use daily EMA data to explicate the dynamics of network activation
during especially stressful treatment experiences, and the relationship between network activation and parents'
anxiety, stress, positive affect, and negative affect. Findings will make significant conceptual advances through
(1) clarifying the network properties that are associated with access to different kinds of support and (2)
characterizing the patterns of network engagement that are associated with improved parental psychological
adaptation to pediatric cancer. Our methodologically innovative design combines both prospective longitudinal
network data and EMA to capture daily network experiences surrounding stressful treatment events, and will
enable examination of between-person and within-person associations among social network characteristics
and parental anxiety, stress, positive affect and negative affect. By refining understanding of the network
characteristics associated with improved parental psychological outcomes, findings from the proposed program
of research will have high translational significance by identifying profiles of network characteristics that are
associated with parental anxiety, stress, negative affect, and positive affect. These findings will provide the
evidence base to refine clinical interventions to improve psychological adjustment to cancer caregiving. Our
findings will also inform supportive care programs by identifying which kinds of support services are most
needed for parents that are not able to access particular types of support through personal networks.
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