Factors that influence participation and long-term retention in cancer support groups were examined, through a study of 87 individuals who had dropped out of a cancer support group, and 26 individuals who had never attended such groups, using a combination of interviews and open-ended questionnaire responses. Support group attrition or non-attendance was positioned as resulting from both individual and group factors. Individual factors included resisting or leaving behind a cancer patient identity, presence of existing support, practical issues, and styles of coping. Group factors included mismatches between the group and the individual, lack of knowledge or nonreferral to groups, and problems within individual groups. These disparate factors underlying support group non-attendance need to be taken into consideration when planning support services, when developing programs of education, or when referrals to cancer support groups are made.
- cancer support groups
- GROUP INTERVENTIONS