The social trajectory of brain tumor: a qualitative metasynthesis

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Journal Article
Disability and Rehabilitation, 2018, 40 (16), pp. 1857 - 1869
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Purpose: Research indicates that strong social ties can buffer the adverse effects of chronic illness on psychological well-being. Brain tumor typically leads to serious functional impairments that affect relationships and reduce social participation. This metasynthesis aimed to identify, appraise and integrate the findings of qualitative studies that reveal the impact of brain tumor on social networks. Methods: Four major databases (PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library and PsycINFO) were systematically searched from inception to September 2016 for qualitative studies that reported findings on the impact of primary brain tumor on social networks during adulthood. Twenty-one eligible studies were identified and appraised according to the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research. Key findings of these studies were integrated to form superordinate themes. Results: The metasynthesis revealed the core themes of: 1) Life disrupted; 2) Navigating the new reality of life; and 3) Social survivorship versus separation. Conclusions: Multiple changes typically occur across the social trajectory of brain tumor, including a loss of pre-illness networks and the emergence of new ones. Understanding the barriers and facilitators for maintaining social connection may guide interventions for strengthening social networks and enhancing well-being in the context of brain tumor. Implications for rehabilitation Social networks and roles are disrupted throughout the entire trajectory of living with brain tumor Physical, cognitive and psychological factors represent barriers to social integration Barriers to social integration may be addressed by supportive care interventions Compensatory strategies, adjusting goals and expectations, educating friends and family and accepting support from others facilitate social reintegration throughout the trajectory of living with brain tumor.
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