Personality as a predictor of cognitive behavioral stress management intervention effects in men treated for early stage prostate cancer

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Frank J. Penedo - Committee Chair


This study evaluated the relationships between personality, as measured by the Millon Behavioral Medicine Diagnostic (MBMD), and outcomes, including sexual functioning, urinary cortisol, and general quality of life (QoL), among men treated for early-stage prostate cancer (PCa). This study also examined the effect of a group-based Cognitive Behavioral Stress Management (CBSM) intervention, or a one-day control seminar, on the trajectories of study outcomes over the year following randomization to one of the two intervention conditions. Finally, this study examined MBMD personality moderators and potential mediators of CBSM intervention effects on sexual functioning, urinary cortisol, and QoL. The present sample was a subgroup of the PC-SMART intervention study, limited to the 93 participants who completed the MBMD.In addition to the 11 published MBMD personality subscales, two broader factors of personality were present. MBMD personality subscales representing avoidance characteristics were negatively related to baseline sexual functioning and QoL. Over the 15 months of the study, urinary cortisol and QoL decreased, while sexual functioning increased. However, contrary to the hypothesis, participation in a 10-week CBSM intervention did not improve sexual functioning or QoL, or reduce urinary cortisol relative to participation in a one-day seminar. The MBMD Forceful personality subscale was related to increases in 24 hour urinary cortisol.A number of different MBMD personality dimensions moderated CBSM intervention effects on cortisol and QoL, as well as on sexual functioning for a sub-sample of the study. Contrary to hypothesis, there were no mediators of the moderated CBSM intervention effects. The study concludes that some dimensions of personality, measured by the MBMD, provide insight into which PCa patients may respond to the CBSM intervention. Comparison to prior works, limitations, and suggestions for future work are addressed in the discussion.


Psychology, Psychobiology; Psychology, Clinical; Psychology, Personality; Health Sciences, Oncology

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