Associations Between Social Network Support and Frequent Mental Distress among Sexual and Gender Diverse Cancer Survivors

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Research Projects

Organizational Units

Journal Issue


Introduction/Background: Due to discrimination and marginalization, sexual and gender diverse (SGD) people are an underserved and understudied population across the cancer care continuum. Compared to their cisgender-heterosexual counterparts, SGD populations experience higher levels of social isolation and weaker social networks, which have been linked to poor mental health outcomes. This study aimed to examine the association between social network support (SNS) and frequent mental distress (FMD) after a cancer diagnosis among SGD cancer survivors and to determine if this association varied by race/ethnicity. Methods: Data from OUT: The National Cancer Survey was used in this secondary analysis. Adult SGD cancer survivors who resided in the U.S. were recruited and administered an online survey in September 2020. Data from participants (N = 2,065) who responded to both survey questions regarding SNS and FMD were included in the current study. We used a CDC-validated measure of FMD. Descriptive statistics were generated, and logistic regression analyses were conducted. Results: In the unadjusted model, biracial/multiracial SGD cancer survivors were more likely to experience FMD than their White counterparts (OR = 1.701; 95% CI = 1.156, 2.50; P = 0.007); no racial differences were found in the final model. In our adjusted model, SGD cancer survivors with much or somewhat weaker SNS after cancer diagnosis were nearly twice as likely as those with much or somewhat stronger SNS to experience FMD (OR = 1.69; 95% CI = 1.23, 2.33; P = 0.001). Age, sexual orientation, current health status, and cancer survivor social support were associated with FMD. Conclusions: Further research is needed to examine how SNS manifests among SGD cancer survivors and influences their mental health outcomes.


Understanding Cancer (The Ohio State University Denman Undergraduate Research Forum)


sexual and gender minority, cancer survivorship, social support, social networks, minority stress, intersectionality