Unmitigated Agency, Social Support, and Psychological Adjustment in Men With Cancer


  • This research was partially supported with resources and the use of facilities at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

concerning this article should be addressed to Michael A. Hoyt, University of California, Merced, Psychology, 5200 North Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343. Email: mhoyt@ucmerced.edu.


ABSTRACT Unmitigated agency (UA), a gender-linked characteristic, has been associated with poorer cancer adjustment. Support from one's social network typically predicts adjustment but may be poorly matched to UA. The influence of UA on the utility of social support on adjustment over time is examined. Men with cancer (N=55) were assessed initially and 6 months later on three indicators of adjustment. Multilevel modeling analyses varied by adjustment indicator. UA was associated with increased cancer-related psychosocial symptoms but not depressive symptoms or cancer-related thought intrusion. Social support predicted fewer depressive symptoms and less cancer-related thought intrusion. However, a cross-level interaction revealed that the utility of social support on cancer-related thought intrusion was weaker for men with greater levels of UA. Men with cancer likely respond differently to changes in social support depending on their endorsement of UA.