Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN, Chairperson; Patricia A. Roth, EdD, RN; Ann M. Mayo, DNSc, RN


Cancer, nursing, professionally-facilitated, Psychology, well-being


Many persons suffer from cancer, some of whom seek psychological relief through group support. Despite the widely held belief that group support helps, its efficacy has not been consistently evident in the scientific literature. The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of professionally-facilitated group support on the psychological well-being of clients with cancer between persons who participated in professionally-facilitated group support with those who did not. A comparison design measured effect by the Psychological General Well-Being (PGWB) index. Each study enrollee was diagnosed with a new or recurrent cancer within 18 months of study entry. ANCOVA was used to consider the effects of stage of disease, age and pretest. Participants were briefly interviewed three times during the study period to monitor attendance, to record participation in complementary therapies and to capture intervening events, which could affect results. Study findings were not significant measured by the PGWB (F [4,47] = .097, p = .757, p ≤.05). Age was inadequately associated (r = .061, p = ≤.05) with the dependent variable and stage of disease and pretest were only weakly correlated (r = .362, p = ≤.05 and r = .423, p = ≤.05). A disproportionate number of study participants did not attend group support (n = 43) versus those who did (n = 9). Of those who did, only three fulfilled the threshold for attendance. Recruitment sites may have been a factor in the study's enrollee composition for the two groups used for comparison. Other findings indicated that while select individuals increased their PGWB score after group support attendance, many others who did not attend group support had no change or improved scores. Individuals may vary in their psychological morbidity over time. Further research is indicated: (1) replication of the study with equal sample sizes may yield different results; (2) adding psychological morbidity as a comprehensive screening indicator in the design of studies may define the target population; and (3) group support studies should explore the psychological distress perceived by persons with cancer concurrent with the timing of diagnosis and treatment. Findings may focus attention on what may be unique about group support in a population with cancer and propel future studies.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons