Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Frank J. Penedo

Second Committee Member

Michael H. Antoni

Third Committee Member

Suzanne C. Lechner


Active Surveillance (AS) for the clinical management of prostate cancer (PC) is a treatment option for men with low-risk PC. Screening procedures have led to the overdetection of PCs that would have never caused problems. Active treatment (e.g., surgery or radiation) for these non-aggressive tumors may not be necessary given the slow-growing nature of PC. AS provides a way to monitor the disease and delay treatment-related compromises on quality of life until clinically indicated (e.g., rising PSA level). However, the intensive monitoring in AS may be a stressful experience and lead to greater anxiety, an emotional state that has been associated with undergoing active treatment despite physician recommendation for AS. The current study aimed to identify psychosocial correlates of anxiety in men undergoing AS. Using Mishel’s Reconceptualized Uncertainty in Illness Model as a framework, the proposed study aimed to examine the relationships between perceived stress management skills, PC psychosocial concerns, and anxiety/arousal. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted on a sample of 71 men undergoing AS, who were on average 65.40 years old (SD=7.85) and ethnically diverse (52% non-Hispanic White; 31% Hispanic; 17% African American). Results indicated that greater PSMS were significantly associated with less IES-R anxiety (β=-.28, p<.04). PSMS were not significantly associated with PC concerns (β=-.02, p>.05), but greater PC concerns were significantly associated with greater IES-R anxiety (β=.61, p<.01) and PSA anxiety (β=.42, p<.01). These associations held after controlling for relevant covariates. The results suggest a possible role for stress management skills as perceived ability to manage stress was related to less anxiety in the AS experience. Future studies should examine the relationship among these factors in longitudinal designs and whether greater stress is associated with unnecessary active treatment in low-risk PC.


Prostate cancer; Active Surveillance; Psychological distress; Arousal