Social support and quality of life among lung cancer patients: a systematic review


Correspondence to: Trauma, Health, and Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7150, USA. E-mail:



This systematic review analyzed the relationships between social support and quality of life (QOL) indicators among lung cancer patients. In particular, the patterns of relationships between different social support facets and sources (received and perceived support from healthcare professionals, family, and friends) and QOL aspects (emotional, physical symptoms, functional, and social) as well as the global QOL index were investigated.


The review yielded 14 original studies (57% applying cross-sectional designs) analyzing data from a total of 2759 patients.


Regarding healthcare professionals as support source, corroborating evidence was found for associations between received support (as well as need for and satisfaction with received support) and all aspects of QOL, except for social ones. Overall, significant relations between support from healthcare personnel and QOL were observed more frequently (67% of analyzed associations), compared with support from families and friends (53% of analyzed associations). Corroborating evidence was found for the associations between perceived and received support from family and friends and emotional aspects of QOL. Research investigating perceived social support from unspecified sources indicated few significant relationships (25% of analyzed associations) and only for the global QOL index.


Quantitative and qualitative differences in the associations between social support and QOL are observed, depending on the source and type of support. Psychosocial interventions may aim at enabling provision of social support from healthcare personnel in order to promote emotional, functional, and physical QOL among lung cancer patients.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.