The proposed K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award will provide the applicant with advanced training and skills to launch an independent research program focused on developing and adapting culturally- sensitive interventions to reduce disparities in the psychological burden of cancer among ethnic minority cancer patients and survivors. This K01 proposal seeks to culturally-adapt and test the feasibility of a writing- based intervention, expressive helping, and its efficacy on psychological well-being, quality of life (QoL), and cancer-related fatigue (CRF) among Chinese American cancer survivors. Expressive helping integrates two distinct areas of research showing that expressive writing (i.e., a writing intervention that facilitates emotional disclosure) and helping others (e.g., support giving) improves psychological well-being among healthy and clinical populations. In expressive helping, participants write about their cancer experiences, disclosing their emotions and providing encouragement and guidance, with the knowledge that their narratives will be shared with and used as a resource for other cancer survivors.
Aim 1 of the study is to conduct a qualitative study to culturally adapt the expressive helping intervention for Chinese American cancer survivors. 24 In-depth interviews and 3 focus group discussions with Chinese American cancer survivors and key informants will inform the adaptation of the expressive helping intervention by focusing on material development and recruitment, implementation, and retention strategies.
In Aim 2, a mixed methods randomized controlled trial of expressive helping will be conducted to test the feasibility and preliminary efficacy on psychological well-being, QoL, and CRF outcomes (N = 108). Participants will complete follow-up outcome questionnaires at 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow-ups. A subset of the participants (n = 20) will complete post-intervention qualitative interviews to examine how writing may have influenced their psychosocial adjustment. The proposed study is well-suited to the expertise the applicant brings to the project, and well-suited to be conducted in New York City (NYC), as NYC has the largest Chinese population of any city outside of Asia. The K01 award will facilitate the applicant?s transition from conducting basic research on culture and emotion regulation with healthy Asian Americans to intervention research with minority cancer survivors. It will help build his long-term career goal in implementing evidence-based interventions to reduce cancer health disparities in the psychological burden of cancer among minority cancer survivors. As part of this award, the applicant will train in cancer survivorship, community- based participatory research (CBPR), qualitative research, and mixed methods intervention research by conducting the proposed study in collaboration with Drs. Chau Trinh-Shevrin (primary mentor), Qian Lu (co- mentor), Jennifer Leng (co-mentor), Marjorie Kagawa-Singer (consultant), and Annette Stanton (consultant).
Chinese American cancer survivors, one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in the US, are more likely to experience poorer mental health than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. The proposed study will evaluate the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a culturally-tailored writing intervention that harnesses the potential benefits of peer helping and emotional disclosure for this population. Findings from the proposed study has important public health implications on reducing disparities in the psychological burden of cancer among Chinese Americans.