Factors associated with self-reported social isolation among patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic

Cassandra A. Hathaway, Amanda M. Bloomer, Laura B. Oswald, Erin M. Siegel, Anita R. Peoples, Cornelia M. Ulrich, Frank J. Penedo, Shelley S. Tworoger, Brian D. Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify patient-level demographic and behavioral characteristics associated with higher social isolation among patients with cancer throughout the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. METHOD: Moffitt Cancer Center patients seen on or after January 1, 2015, had a last known alive vital status, a valid e-mail address, and were 18-89 years old, were emailed a survey regarding social isolation. We collected information on age, sex, race, ethnicity, marital status, smoking, self-reported cancer diagnosis, cancer treatment, and perceived life changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We calculated a COVID-19 risk mitigation score by summing the frequency of risk mitigation behaviors (e.g., mask wearing). Social isolation was assessed with the self-reported Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Social Isolation Short Form. Logistic regression models compared characteristics of participants reporting higher versus lower social isolation (T-scores >60 vs. ≤60). RESULTS: Most participants (N = 9,579) were female (59.2%), White (93.0%), and non-Hispanic (92.5%). Participants at greater odds of higher social isolation were younger (per 10 years decrease odds ratio [OR] = 1.36, 95% confidence interval, CI [1.30, 1.43]), female (vs. male OR = 1.54, 95% CI [1.36, 1.74]), unmarried (vs. married OR = 1.83, 95% CI [1.62, 2.08]), current smokers (vs. never OR = 2.38, 95% CI [1.88, 3.00]), reporting more risk mitigation behaviors (per 1 SD; OR = 1.33, 95% CI [1.24, 1.42]), and more perceived life changes (vs. little/no change; OR = 2.64, 95% CI [2.08, 3.35]). CONCLUSIONS: We identified younger age, females, unmarried, current smokers, more risk mitigation behaviors, and more perceived life changes increased odds of social isolation for patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. This can inform identification of patients with cancer at higher risk of social isolation for targeted mitigation strategies. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-318
Number of pages8
JournalHealth psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors associated with self-reported social isolation among patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this