The effects of a cognitive-behavioral stress management intervention on immune function and positive contributions in younger women with early stage breast cancer

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Michael Antoni - Committee Chair


The present study examined the effect of a 10-week CBSM intervention on feelings of positive contributions from the experience of having breast cancer, on optimism, and on changes in immune function in women with early stage breast cancer.A few studies have demonstrated a relationship between psychosocial interventions and long term survival among breast cancer patients but few have proposed a mechanism for the observed survival differences. The immune system is a plausible mechanism candidate. There is a growing body of literature supporting the notion that the immune system can recognize breast cancer antigens. In-vitro proliferative response to autologous tumor antigens has been associated with longer disease-free survival. Numerous studies have demonstrated a relationship between psychosocial factors such as distress and immune function (McEwen, 1998). If distress is contributing to decrements in immune function, and if the quality of the immune system is an important factor in breast cancer disease progression, it would follow that stress management interventions might improve the physical as well as the emotional health of women being treated for breast cancer.


Health Sciences, Mental Health; Health Sciences, Immunology

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