Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


MacDermid Joy C.


This thesis explored how social support changes with time and differs across genders within 1-year post distal radius fracture (DRF). It also examines the effect of social support on the patient-rated wrist evaluation (PRWE) score and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of DRF patients at 3 months post-fracture. In this cohort study, patient-reported social support (emotional/informational, tangible, affectionate and positive social interaction) was measured using the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) social support survey, and HRQoL was measured using the 36-Item Short-Form Survey (SF-36). Social support significantly decreased at 3 months in comparison to baseline, 6 months and 1 year (with small effect sizes

Summary for Lay Audience

Distal radius fracture (DRF) is a wrist fracture that occurs mainly due to a fall on an outstretched hand, and the occurrence of this fracture is accompanied by factors such as pain, reduced grip strength, and limitation in the function of the injured hand, that may affect a patient’s health and general functionality. Social support has been previously established to improve functional outcomes in fractures like hip fractures, but how social support changes with time and the gender difference in the support received in patients with DRF is yet to be established. Previous studies have also examined the influence of social support on health outcomes of patients with DRF in the later stage (1-year post-fracture) of the fracture, but no study has focused on the acute/early phase of the fracture. The 1st study (chapter 2) investigated how social support changes with time within 1 year of the fracture and how this support differs by gender. While the 2nd study explored the influence of social support on health outcomes of patients with DRF at 3 months post-fracture. We found that at 3 months, there was a decline in the perceived social support received, no gender difference was observed, and social support was not independently predictive of health outcomes during the acute stage of recovery. These findings can be used during DRF rehabilitation to inform clinicians and therapists of the gap between patients’ perceived needs for social support and the support received from their social network during the acute stage of DRF recovery.