Social support buffers against anxiety and depressive symptoms in patients with cancer only if support is wanted: a large sample replication

  • Andrea VodermaierEmail author
  • Wolfgang Linden

Social support can buffer against stressful life events like coping with a life-threatening disease such as cancer [1, 2]. However, social support is not equally desired across individuals and does not necessarily elicit salutary consequences in all recipients [3, 4, 5, 6]. Previously, we demonstrated that lower emotional distress as a result of greater social support was limited to only those cancer patients who in fact desired more social support [4]. Hence, not all individuals low in social support also seek more support and may, therefore, not benefit from additional social support. A somewhat weaker but same effect was also demonstrated in healthy individuals [4]. These findings suppose that the desire for social support could be considered a trait-like personality style [7] that is evident in the healthy and extends to individuals who cope with a life-threatening illness or frailty [8]. To assure stability and trustworthiness of these findings [4, 9] the present paper aims at...


Social support Desired support Cancer patients Anxiety Depression 


Funding information

This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Team for Supportive Cancer Care (#AQC83559; PIs R Doll & A Kazanjian).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest or financial interests associated with this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Ludwig Maximilian University MunichMunichGermany

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