Online Exclusive Article

Social Disconnection in African American Women With Breast Cancer

Sue P. Heiney

African American, breast cancer, social disconnection, women
ONF 2013, 41(1), E28-E34. DOI: 10.1188/14.ONF.E28-E34

Purpose/Objectives: To identify antecedents and consequences of social disconnection in African American women diagnosed with breast cancer as described in the extant literature.

Data Sources: Literature review using broad exploration of a personal database and informal exploration of databases such as MEDLINE®, as well as clinical experience.

Data Synthesis: A formal definition, antecedents, and consequences of social disconnection were drawn from a review of the literature.

Conclusions: Antecedents included personal responses to a breast cancer diagnosis and cultural influences. Consequences included decreased well-being, partner abandonment, and decreased health.

Implications for Nursing: Areas for future research include using measurement tools for assessment, as well as creating categories for the trajectory of social disconnection and determining its severity and nature. Nurses should be alert to the possibility of social disconnection in patients with cancer. Nurses can assist the patient in talking to his or her family and friends about the cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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