Cancer Survivors’ Social Context in the Return to Work Process: Narrative Accounts of Social Support and Social Comparison Information

Maria Armaou, Lauren Schumacher, Elizabeth Grunfeld

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    8 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Purpose Returning to work is a process that is intertwined with the social aspects of one’s life, which can influence the way in which that person manages their return to work and also determines the support available to them. This study aimed to explore cancer patients’ perceptions of the role of their social context in relation to returning to work following treatment. Methods Twenty-three patients who had received a diagnosis of either urological, breast, gynaecological, or bowel cancer participated in semi-structured interviews examining general perceptions of cancer, work values and perceptions of the potential impact of their cancer diagnosis and treatment on work. Interviews were analysed using the iterative process of Framework Analysis. Results Two superordinate themes emerged as influential in the return to work process: Social support as a facilitator of return to work (e.g. co-workers’ support and support outside of the workplace) and Social comparison as an appraisal of readiness to return to work (e.g. comparisons with other cancer patients, colleagues, and employees in other organisations or professions). Conclusions Two functions of the social context of returning to work after cancer were apparent in the participants’ narrative: the importance of social support as a facilitator of returning to work and the utilisation of social comparison information in order to appraise one’s readiness to return to work. The role of social context in returning to work has largely been absent from the research literature to date. The findings of this study suggest that social support and social comparison mechanisms may have a significant impact on an individual’s successful return to the workplace.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)504–512
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
    Volume28
    Issue number3
    Early online date4 Oct 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

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    social support
    cancer
    narrative
    workplace
    co-worker
    interview
    profession
    utilization
    employee
    human being

    Keywords

    • Social context
    • Cancer
    • Return to work
    • Social support
    • Social comparison

    Cite this

    Cancer Survivors’ Social Context in the Return to Work Process : Narrative Accounts of Social Support and Social Comparison Information. / Armaou, Maria; Schumacher, Lauren; Grunfeld, Elizabeth.

    In: Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, Vol. 28, No. 3, 09.2018, p. 504–512.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    abstract = "Purpose Returning to work is a process that is intertwined with the social aspects of one’s life, which can influence the way in which that person manages their return to work and also determines the support available to them. This study aimed to explore cancer patients’ perceptions of the role of their social context in relation to returning to work following treatment. Methods Twenty-three patients who had received a diagnosis of either urological, breast, gynaecological, or bowel cancer participated in semi-structured interviews examining general perceptions of cancer, work values and perceptions of the potential impact of their cancer diagnosis and treatment on work. Interviews were analysed using the iterative process of Framework Analysis. Results Two superordinate themes emerged as influential in the return to work process: Social support as a facilitator of return to work (e.g. co-workers’ support and support outside of the workplace) and Social comparison as an appraisal of readiness to return to work (e.g. comparisons with other cancer patients, colleagues, and employees in other organisations or professions). Conclusions Two functions of the social context of returning to work after cancer were apparent in the participants’ narrative: the importance of social support as a facilitator of returning to work and the utilisation of social comparison information in order to appraise one’s readiness to return to work. The role of social context in returning to work has largely been absent from the research literature to date. The findings of this study suggest that social support and social comparison mechanisms may have a significant impact on an individual’s successful return to the workplace.",
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