Social well-being among adolescents and young adults with cancer: A systematic review

Echo L. Warner, Erin E. Kent, Kelly M. Trevino, Helen M. Parsons, Bradley J. Zebrack, Anne C. Kirchhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND A cancer diagnosis during adolescence or young adulthood may negatively influence social well-being. The existing literature concerning the social well-being of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer was reviewed to identify gaps in current research and highlight priority areas for future research. METHODS A systematic review of the scientific literature published in English from 2000 through 2014 was performed. Eligible studies included patients and survivors diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 39 years that reported on social well-being domains in the City of Hope Cancer Survivor Quality of Life Model. Each article was reviewed for relevance using a standardized template. A total of 253 potential articles were identified. After exclusions, a final sample of 26 articles identified domains of social well-being that are believed to be understudied among AYAs with cancer: 1) educational attainment, employment, and financial burden; 2) social relationships; and 3) supportive care. Articles were read in their entirety, single coded, and summarized according to domain. RESULTS AYAs with cancer report difficulties related to employment, educational attainment, and financial stability. They also report problems with the maintenance and development of peer and family relationships, intimate and marital relationships, and peer support. Supportive services are desired among AYAs. Few studies have reported results in reference to comparison samples or by cancer subtypes. CONCLUSIONS Future research studies on AYAs with cancer should prioritize the inclusion of underserved AYA populations, more heterogeneous cancer samples, and comparison groups to inform the development of supportive services. Priority areas for potential intervention include education and employment reintegration, and social support networks. Cancer 2016;122:1029-1037.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1037
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • adolescent and young adult
  • cancer
  • education
  • employment
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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