Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Paul B. Jacobsen, Ph.D.

Keywords

Psycho-oncology, Mood disorders, Thoracic oncology, Smoking, Tobacco

Abstract

Previous research suggests that lung cancer patients are at an increased risk for depressive symptomatology; however, little is known about the possible etiology or correlates of depression among these patients. This study examined the relationship between perceived stigma and depressive symptomatology among lung cancer patients, and sought to find potential mediators of this relationship. It was hypothesized that more perceived stigma would be related to greater depressive symptomatology and that perceived stigma would contribute unique variance to depressive symptomatology above and beyond that contributed by clinical, demographic, and psychosocial variables. A sample of 95 participants receiving chemotherapy for stage II-IV non-small cell lung cancer was recruited during routine outpatient chemotherapy visits. A medical chart review was conducted to assess clinical factors and participants completed a standard demographic questionnaire as well as measures of perceived stigma, depressive symptomatology, and other psychosocial variables. As hypothesized, there was a positive association of perceived stigma to depressive symptomatology. Perceived stigma contributed significant unique variance to depressive symptomatology. In addition dyadic adjustment and dysfunctional attitudes mediated this relationship. Future research should aim to replicate and extend these findings in longitudinal analyses and attempt to ameliorate lung cancer patients' depressive symptomatology by targeting perceived stigma.

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