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The influence of family functioning on the severity of fear of cancer recurrence: A cross-sectional study in a sample of breast cancer survivors of Lebanese women

  • Toni Sawma
    Affiliations
    Haigazian University, Social & Behavioral Science Department, Lebanon

    Lebanese American University, Department of Psychology, School of Arts and Sciences, Lebanon

    Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, Lebanon
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  • Pascale Choueiri
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. PO Box 17-5208 Mar Mikhael, Beirut, Lebanon.
    Affiliations
    Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, Lebanon

    Saint Joseph University of Beirut, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Psychology, Lebanon
    Search for articles by this author

      Highlights

      • The situation resulting from cancer disrupts the balance in family dynamics.
      • Cohesion, disengagement, enmeshment, and satisfaction do not impact FCR severity.
      • Balanced family flexibility and higher communication level decrease FCR severity.
      • While rigid family functioning does not impact FCR, chaotic functioning increases it.

      Abstract

      Objective

      To explore the links between family functioning—in terms of cohesion, flexibility, and communication—and the fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) in a sample of breast cancer survivors of Lebanese women.

      Methods

      This was a cross-sectional study among 62 Lebanese adult women (mean age: 51.0 ± 8.29 years; years since diagnosis: 7.19 ± 7.06) in remission, included via convenience and snowball sampling. A multicomponent questionnaire, encompassing socio-demographic and medical questions, the “Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale,” the “Family communication scale,” and the “Family satisfaction scale” (FACES IV) and the short version of the “Fear of Cancer Recurrence Inventory” (FCRI–SF), was used. Descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate analyses were conducted. A p-value<0.01 was used to indicate statistical significance.

      Results

      On average, FCR was clinically non-significant (12.31 ± 7.76). The sample had a low disengagement (20.01 ± 4.83), very low enmeshment (19.68 ± 4.57), very low rigid operation (21.7 ± 4.26), very low chaotic functioning (16.43 ± 4.48), high family communication level (38.78 ± 7.96), connected balanced cohesion (28.18 ± 5.47), very flexible balanced flexibility (26.81 ± 4.56), and low level of family satisfaction (34.53 ± 8.04). A very low chaotic functioning in the family (B = −11.37, Beta = −0.49, 99%CI = −19.54, −3.19), very high and low communication (B = −6.04, Beta = −0.33, 99%CI = −11.42, −0.67; B = −11.85, Beta = −0.46, 99%CI = −20.13, −3.58, respectively), very flexible balanced flexibility (B = −10.36, Beta = −0.67, 99%CI = −15.77, −4.94) and younger age (B = −0.31, Beta = −0.37, 99%CI = −0.59, −0.04) predicted a lower FCR score.

      Conclusion

      Balanced flexibility and the quality of communication within the family were associated with a decreased FCR, while chaotic family functioning increased FCR severity. Cohesion, disengagement, enmeshment, and family satisfaction did not impact the severity of FCR.

      Keywords

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