Understanding help-seeking behaviour in relation to psychosocial support services among Japanese cancer patients

Tomoko Matsui, Kei Hirai, Yasuyuki Gondo, Shinichi Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There are various psychosocial support services for cancer patients in Japan; however, their utilization rate is lower than in Western countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the actual status of the utilization of such services and the related factors of their use, using the transtheoretical model. Methods: We conducted an Internet survey of cancer outpatients. They were asked for information on their demographics, physical status and the usage of and intention to use psychosocial support services, and to answer the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Results: Data of 712 participants were analyzed; 111 had made use of psychosocial support services (15.6%). Participants who were younger, female, had breast cancer, experience with hormone therapy and did not have a good performance status (Karnofsky Performance Scale) more often used such services when comparing users/experiencers with non-users/inexperienced. Of the inexperienced, 538 were in the Precontemplation stage (89.5%), 62 were in the Contemplation stage (10.3%) and one was in the Preparation stage (0.2%). Approximately 35% of those in the Precontemplation stage would correspond to adjustment disorders or major depression. Conclusions: We showed the degree of cancer patients who have used the psychosocial support services and its contents and revealed the factors related to the utilization of such services in Japan. Our study supports previous reports that cancer patients with high levels of distress do not necessarily seek support, and thus future studies should also examine other modifiable factors considering the medical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1175-1181
Number of pages7
JournalJapanese Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 1


  • cancer patients
  • help-seeking behaviour
  • psychosocial support
  • support use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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