Self-efficacy expectations are a person's beliefs about his or her ability to perform certain behaviors with the intention of achieving desired outcomes. For cancer patients higher levels of self-efficacy for coping behaviors (e.g., coping with side effects) have been associated with better psychosocial adjustment and quality of life. Initial studies have also indicated that self-efficacy for coping predicts the survival of cancer patients, however, the studies completed to date have utilized quasi-experimental designs. This study is an attempt to enhance cancer patients' self-efficacy for coping through Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) in an experimental design. Cancer patient with low and medium CBI scores (N=100) will be assigned to an experimental group that will receive four weekly sessions of SFT, and a control group that will receive a placebo treatment (keeping a journal). The experimental and control group subjects will complete the Cancer Behavior Inventory (CBI), a measure of self-efficacy for coping with cancer, four times; 1) at pretest, 2) after the second week, 3) at posttest and 4) at a two month follow-up. In addition, measures of sickness impact, social support impact, quality of life, and adjustment to illness will be completed at pretest, posttest and follow-up. Demographic data will be obtained from participants and medical information will be obtained from the participants' medical files. A repeated measures multivariate analysis of covariance will be computed with pretest measures as the covariates and the remaining assessments as the repeated measure. Hierarchical Linear Modeling will also be conducted. Patterns of change may be derived from an examination of how treatment conditions (experimental vs. control) differ on 1) initial level of efficacy, 2) average change in efficacy, and 3) U-shaped or inverted U-shaped patterns of change. Finally, the parameters derived from the initial HLM analysis (i.e., intercept, slope, and quadratic) will be used as predictors of adjustment and quality of life. The objective of this study is to clarify whether self-efficacy for coping can be improved utilizing SFT. If these data result in favorable findings, SFT would provide viable approach to teach to professionals who counsel cancer patients. SFT provides a brief, cost-effective approach that can be provided individually, in groups, or remotely by phone or internet.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-GRB-T (M1))
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Nelson, Wendy
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University of Notre Dame
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Notre Dame
United States
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Heitzmann, Carolyn A; Merluzzi, Thomas V; Jean-Pierre, Pascal et al. (2011) Assessing self-efficacy for coping with cancer: development and psychometric analysis of the brief version of the Cancer Behavior Inventory (CBI-B). Psychooncology 20:302-12
Merluzzi, T V; Nairn, R C; Hegde, K et al. (2001) Self-efficacy for coping with cancer: revision of the Cancer Behavior Inventory (version 2.0). Psychooncology 10:206-17