Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Michael H. Antoni - Committee Member

Second Committee Member

Frank J. Penedo - Mentor

Third Committee Member

Suzanne Lechner - Outside Committee Member


Research has shown that men treated for localized prostate cancer (PC) experience physical side effects of treatment that can compromise emotional well being (EWB). Psychosocial factors such as social support can buffer decrements in EWB associated with cancer treatment. The Social Cognitive Processing (SCP) model proposes that communication between the patient and their social support network results in greater processing of cancer adjustment related information and that such processing mediates the relationship between social support and better EWB. Few studies have investigated this relationship in PC populations. The current study sought to evaluate the SCP model in a sample of men who have undergone treatment for localized PC. The study (N=260) was conducted in an ethnically (37% Caucasian, 37% Hispanic, 15% African American) and demographically diverse sample using a cross-sectional design. After controlling for factors significantly associated with EWB (ethnicity, medical co-morbidities and number of years of education), results indicated that higher levels of social support were significantly related with higher levels of EWB (beta=.30, p<.01). Results also showed that two measures of cognitive processing (illness coherence and cognitive processing as a coping strategy) partially mediated the relationship between social support and EWB (illness coherence: z=2.28, p<.05; cognitive processing as a coping strategy: z=2.00, p<.05). Furthermore, perceived stress appeared to moderate the overall mediation model (beta=.91, p<.01) such that cognitive processing mediated the relationship between social support and EWB for individuals perceiving low levels of stress (z=1.90, p<.05), but not for individuals perceiving high levels of stress (z=.09, p>.05). Results suggest the importance of cognitive processing and perceived stress as potential targets for future intervention work designed to improve the psychosocial adjustment of PC patients following treatment.


Perceived Stress; Quality Of Life; Cognitive Processing; Emotional Well-being; Prostate Cancer; Social Support