Purpose: We sought to describe coping strategies reported by young breast cancer survivors and evaluate the relationship between utilization of specific coping strategies and anxiety in survivorship. Methods: Participants enrolled in The Young Women’s Breast Cancer Study, a multi-center, cohort of women diagnosed with breast cancer at age ≤ 40 years, completed surveys that assessed demographics, coping strategies (reported at 6-month post-enrollment and 18-month post-diagnosis), and anxiety (2 years post-diagnosis). We used univariable and multivariable logistic regression to examine the relationship between coping strategies and anxiety. Results: A total of 833 women with stage 0–3 breast cancer were included in the analysis; median age at diagnosis was 37 (range: 17–40) years. Social supports were the most commonly reported coping strategies, with the majority reporting moderate or greater use of emotional support from a partner (90%), parents (78%), other family (79%), and reliance on friends (88%) at both 6 and 18 months. In multivariable analyses, those with moderate or greater reliance on emotional support from other family (odds ratio (OR): 0.37, 95% confidence ratio (CI): 0.22–0.63) at 18 months were less likely to have anxiety at 2 years, while those with moderate or greater reliance on alcohol/drug use (OR: 1.83, 95%CI: 1.12–3.00) and taking care of others (OR: 1.90, 95%CI: 1.04–3.45) to cope were more likely to have anxiety. Conclusion: Young breast cancer survivors rely heavily on support from family and friends. Our findings underscore the importance of considering patients’ social networks when developing interventions targeting coping in survivorship. Clinical trial registration number: NCT01468246 (first posted November 9, 2011).
- Social support
- Young breast cancer survivors
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