My interest is in behavioral and psychosocial aspects of cancer. The goal of this work is to demonstrate how an understanding of psychological principles can be used to reduce cancer-related morbidity and mortality. Over the past few years, my students and I have conducted a number of studies investigating the etiology and management of behavioral side effects of cancer treatment. With funding from the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, we demonstrated that a brief cognitive-behavioral intervention (stress management training) is effective in improving patients’ quality of life as they undergo cancer chemotherapy treatment.
Based on these findings, we are currently conducting a second randomized trial to examine the separate and combined effects of stress management training and exercise training on quality of life during chemotherapy treatment. Current work also focuses on investigating fatigue, one of the most common and distressing symptoms experienced by cancer patients. Our research has led to the development of tools to measure fatigue, estimates of the prevalence and intensity of fatigue during and following completion of cancer treatment, and identification of clinical and psychological factors that explain individual differences in fatigue severity. We are also involved in studying behavioral aspects of cancer prevention and detection. Along these lines, we are currently investigating ways to promote cancer screening and prevention behaviors among individuals who are at increased risk for cancer due to a family history of the disease.