Objective: To investigate whether social support from family and friends (family/friend support) attenuated ("buffered") adverse effects of having low spouse support (spousal support) among mothers of children undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Design: One hundred sixty-three married mothers who were their child's primary caregiver during treatment completed assessments during the child's hospitalization for HSCT and 3-, 6-, and 12-months post-HSCT. Measures: Family/friend support and spousal support were assessed during hospitalization. Maternal physical and mental health-related functioning (the main outcome measures) were assessed at all timepoints. Results: Multilevel modeling was used to analyze trajectories of maternal functioning. Findings indicated that mothers with low spousal support and low family/friend support demonstrated the worst functioning across all timepoints. Mothers with low spousal support and high family/friend support demonstrated significantly better functioning, supporting the hypothesized buffering effect. Their functioning compared to the functioning of mothers with high spousal support. Moreover, mothers with high family/friend support demonstrated trajectories of physical health-related functioning that were more stable than the trajectories of mothers with low family/friend support. Conclusion: These findings have clinical implications in addition to advancing knowledge of social support processes among couples coping with the shared stressor of a child's life-threatening illness and treatment.
- maternal adjustment
- multilevel model
- pediatric bone marrow transplant
- pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant
- social support