Although the effects of self-efficacy and social support on health outcomes are well established, it is crucial to find out if these predictors are chained in a specific way, with either self-efficacy prompting support receipt or with support receipt prompting self-efficacy.
In the context of adaptation after lung cancer surgery, this study investigated (1) the cultivation hypothesis, assuming that the relationship between self-efficacy and quality-of-life indices would be mediated by social support received from medical personnel, family, and friends, and (2) the enabling hypothesis, assuming that the association between received social support and quality-of-life indices would be mediated by self-efficacy.
Patients with the first onset of non-small-cell lung cancer (N = 102) filled in questionnaires at 3-4 days after segmentectomy or lobectomy (time 1), at 1-month follow-up (time 2), and at 4-month follow-up (time 3).
Mediation analyses accounting for the effects of age, gender, marital status (all measured at time 1), and the mediator (measured at time 1 and time 2) yielded no support for the cultivation hypothesis. Indirect effects were observed for 0 out of 14 quality-of-life indices, measured at time 3. In contrast, the enabling hypothesis was confirmed for 11 out of 14 quality-of-life indices (physical, functional, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects; measured at time 3).
Interventions for patients with lung cancer may focus on enhancing social support receipt within the first week after surgery, followed by a self-efficacy prompt 3 weeks later.