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Acculturation, social support, and quality of life for Korean immigrant breast and gynecological cancer survivors

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Objectives. This study examines the direct and/or indirect pathways among acculturation, social support, depressive symptoms, and quality of life (QOL) for Korean immigrant breast and gynecological cancer survivors. Design. The QOL-Cancer Survivor measure was translated and then administered to 51 survivors. This tool measured acculturation by assessing westernization, language barriers, and length of stay. In addition, the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 was used to assess depressive symptoms. Social support components were conceptualized as comprising both functional social support and social network structures. Results. Structural equation modeling identified significant relationships among acculturation, social support, depressive symptoms, and QOL. Higher acculturation was associated with positive network structures (larger network size, diversity, and closer social ties) and lower depressive symptoms, which in turn contributed to better QOL. Simultaneously, positive social network structures strongly correlated with better emotional support and, thus, influenced lower depressive symptoms. Conclusions. The evidence that acculturation influences QOL through social support for Korean immigrant cancer survivors should serve as a rationale for developing psychosocial interventions that enhance immigrant cancer survivors' social participation and adjustment in the unfamiliar US environment.
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Keywords: Korean immigrant; acculturation; breast and gynecological cancer survivors; depressive symptoms; quality of life; social support

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center of Community Alliance for Research and Education (CCARE), City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA, USA 2: University of Southern California School of Social Work, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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