Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Kent Burnett, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Etiony Aldarondo, Ph.D.

Fourth Committee Member

Peggy Rios, Ph.D.


A coping skills group intervention for cancer survivors and co-survivors was developed based upon the APPLES Indicators of Healing. The group was a six week intervention aimed at teaching specific coping skills hypothesized to improve the participants’ quality of life. Variables including illness-related distress, illness-related coping, and illness-related resilience were examined in their relation to quality of life prior to the start of the intervention, midway through the intervention, and after the intervention concluded. It was predicted that participation in the APPLES coping skills group intervention would significantly improve cancer survivors’ and co-survivors’ resiliency, quality of life, and use of positive coping skills, while lessening distress and use of negative coping skills. It was concluded that during the group there was an increase in feelings of distress and use of substances; however, by the end of the group the participants showed an increase in posttraumatic growth and feelings of resiliency and a decrease in symptoms of PTSD, specifically feelings of detachment.


cancer; coping skills; group therapy; caregivers; chronic illness; quality of life