The proposed research presents a set of career development and research experiences to facilitate the applicant's long-term goal of becoming a health psychology researcher and focuses on the study of support processes in close relationships. Career development and research activities are designed to facilitate and enhance the applicant's knowledge of (a) models of dyadic reports of support receipt and provision;(b) daily diary methods for studying support processes;(c) advanced data analytic techniques for the analysis of couple processes;and (d) understanding the psychosocial adjustment of couples coping with cancer. During the training period, the applicant's effort will focus on seminars, workshops, individual meetings with the sponsor and consultants, group meetings with the research teams at the university and medical settings, discussion of relevant readings, and the implementation of the proposed research. The research proposed will be an investigation of a short-term (6-month) longitudinal study involving two phases of daily data collection. Researchers, theorists, and clinicians have observed that the effects of breast cancer are not limited to the patient, but occur in a larger interpersonal context that includes the spouse and the overall marital relationship. Support from a spouse has been found to be a critical resource for coping with cancer and enhancing feelings of closeness in relationships. Thus, the overarching goal of the proposed research is to offer an exciting first step in identifying daily support processes which may influence adjustment and relationship well-being. Within this broad goal, there are three specific aims: 1) to examine provider and recipient accounts of daily support to assess the effects of support provision within-couples;2) to evaluate the effects of support that does not match the recipient's needs;and 3) to examine whether support that is both given and received benefits the recipient in the months following initial cancer treatment. Findings from this research are intended to clarify the influence of support transactions on the adjustment of patients, their partners, the relationship, as well as provide implications for interventions with couples coping with cancer. To date, no research has focused on the day-to-day variations in support exchanges between patients and their spouses as couples negotiate stresses associated with breast cancer. As a result, less is known about within-couple support exchanges as they occur and influence adjustment in everyday life. To better understand support processes in this context, the proposed project will use methods capable of capturing the effects of support transactions on this dyadic process.

Public Health Relevance

To ensure that I receive adequate training (a) modeling dyadic reports of support receipt and provision;(b) daily diary methods for studying support processes;(c) data analytic techniques for the analysis of within couple processes;and (d) understanding the psychosocial adjustment of couples coping with cancer, I have devised a multi-component training plan. This training plan will enable me to collaborate with faculty members with expertise in relevant social, clinical, and health psychology disciplines. I have chosen a primary sponsor and two consultants to assist in each of these facets. Dr. Jean-Philippe Laurenceau (University of Delaware) has expertise in marital processes and will be primary sponsor and supervise all aspects of the project;Dr. Niall Bolger (Columbia University) will serve as consultant for issues related to modeling support processes, diary methods, and dyadic data analyses;and Dr. Sharon Manne (Fox Chase Cancer Center) will serve as consultant for issues related to psychosocial adjustment and relationship well-being in couples with cancer. Drs. Laurenceau, Bolger and Manne are all distinguished experts in their respective fields. While my training plan involves enrollment in relevant workshops, attendance to national conferences, and clinical work, I anticipate that I will benefit most from my interactions with each of them. This training program is beyond the scope of graduate training typically offered to clinical psychology students at the University of Delaware. All research and didactic components I aim to learn through this award are described in greater detail on Page 4.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-K (29))
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Bini, Alessandra M
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University of Delaware
Schools of Arts and Sciences
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Soriano, Emily C; Otto, Amy K; Siegel, Scott D et al. (2017) Partner social constraints and early-stage breast cancer: Longitudinal associations with psychosexual adjustment. J Fam Psychol 31:574-583
Otto, Amy K; Laurenceau, Jean-Philippe; Siegel, Scott D et al. (2015) Capitalizing on everyday positive events uniquely predicts daily intimacy and well-being in couples coping with breast cancer. J Fam Psychol 29:69-79
Pasipanodya, Elizabeth C; Parrish, Brendt P; Laurenceau, Jean-Philippe et al. (2012) Social constraints on disclosure predict daily well-being in couples coping with early-stage breast cancer. J Fam Psychol 26:661-7
Belcher, Amber J; Laurenceau, Jean-Philippe; Graber, Elana C et al. (2011) Daily support in couples coping with early stage breast cancer: maintaining intimacy during adversity. Health Psychol 30:665-73