Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Cooperating University

University of Kentucky


Social Work

Degree Program

Social Work, PhD

Committee Chair

Kayser, Karen

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Head, Barbara

Committee Member

Head, Barbara

Committee Member

Harris, Lesley

Committee Member

Studts, Jamie

Committee Member

Lawson, Thomas

Author's Keywords

financial toxicity; Cancer; social support; moderator


Although literature exists on the impact of cancer-related financial burden and its effects on quality of life, we do not have a full understanding of the nature of the financial burden on individuals and their families. Likewise, research on social support has concentrated on social, emotional, functional, and physical well-being but not on the financial well-being of individuals with cancer. The purpose of this study is to understand the role of social support in the relationship between financial toxicity and quality of life of individuals living with cancer. This research used a multiple method approach composed of two studies. Study 1 was a secondary analysis of data from a study exploring the lived experiences of 26 cancer survivors who self-reported financial hardship due to the costs of their cancer experience. Interview transcripts were analyzed using a theory-based direct approach to Qualitative Content Analysis. Study 2 recruited 126 participants who had a diagnosis of blood (Leukemia, Lymphoma or Myeloma) or breast cancer within the past 5 years. Moderator and mediator analyses were conducted to determine the specific path by which social support intervenes. Findings confirm the existence, use and need for social support that addresses financial toxicity. Social support plays a critical role in helping to protect patients from cancer-related financial toxicity. More needs to be done to address the financial needs of patients. Oncology social workers can play an essential role in assisting patients in averting financial toxicity.