247799 Cancer survivor identity shared in a social media intervention and its psychosocial effects for young adult survivors of childhood cancer

Monday, October 31, 2011: 5:15 PM

Hayeon Song, PhD , Department of Communication, University of Wisconsin - Milwlaukee, Milwaukee, WI
Yujung Nam, MA , Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Jessica Gould, MA , Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Scott Sanders, MA , Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Margaret McLaughlin, PhD , Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA
Janet Fulk, PhD , Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Matthew Weber, PhD , Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, NC
Vikki S. Katz, PhD , School of Communication and Information, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ
The experience of surviving cancer diagnosis and treatment alter a young person's life in many ways. Young adult survivors of childhood cancers face ongoing medical risks, in addition to a range of social and psychological complications that may affect their development. For example, they confront stereotypes about cancer survivors, as well as stresses caused by their uncertainty about complications that may occur later in life. This study investigates how cancer survivors construct their personal and social identities, and how these identities affect their psychosocial health, as measured by social support, depression, and survivor self-efficacy. Fourteen young adult survivors of pediatric cancer participated in a customized social networking and videoblog intervention program called LIFECommunity, over a six-month period. Survivors were asked to share their stories on various topics by posting video messages. Those videoblog postings were collected and content analyzed to see how cancer survivor shared and expressed their identities. We found that these individuals did not strongly embrace a ‘cancer survivor identity,' although many did internalize negative stereotypes associated with being a cancer survivor. Analysis of the “Who am I?” identity test indicated that survivors who held negative stereotypes about cancer survivors there was a positive relationship with depression, while positive stereotypes showed significant association with cancer survivor efficacy. Overcompensating for stereotypes had no association with depression or cancer survivor efficacy. The long-term implications of cancer survivorship for young people's identity formation are discussed in the context of practitioner care.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how “cancer survivor identity” is formed and shared through videoblog in a social media intervention program 2. Define “cancer survivor identity” based on social identity theory 3. Explain how young adult pediatric cancer survivors internalize cancer-related stereotypes. 4. Describe the psychosocial effects of internalizing negative/positive stereotypes about cancer survivorship among young adult survivors of childhood cancer. 5. Discuss the process of identity formation for young adult cancer survivors.

Keywords: Cancer, Health Communications

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because my area of expertise is to implement proactive approaches to cancer survivorship and to assess the impact of =he use of social media contributing to success of such efforts.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.