University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Biobehavioral Interactions in Clinical Care and Survivorship

Biobehavioral Interaction A better understanding of biobehavioral factors in the clinical care of cancer patients and during survivorship continues to be a priority of the BOP with the long term goal of developing interventions that can be used in clinical practice to enhance patients' treatment experiences and outcomes. In addition to influences of psychological factors (e.g., thoughts and feelings) on patients' treatment experiences for example, cancer and its treatment also affect patients' thoughts and feelings in complex ways, which are under investigation by Program members.

Selected Publications

  • Nausea and vomiting continue to be a clinical problem for patients with cancer, particularly during treatment. Although the neurological basis of vomiting is increasingly understood, our understanding of the physiology of nausea is lagging, in part because preclinical models are lacking. Investigators applied a statistical method, temporal pattern (t-pattern) analysis, to determine patterns of behavior associated with emesis in musk shrews. This statistical approach to behavioral analysis in a pre-clinical emesis research model could be used to assess the more global effects and limitations of drugs used to control nausea and its potential correlates, including reduced feeding and activity levels (Horn CC, et. ak., Front Neurosci 5:88, 2011).
  • Post-traumatic growth (PTG) in the worldviews of individuals receiving a diagnosis of cancer have been widely documented in the literature, but not previously examined in patients diagnosed with hepatobiliary carcinoma and their caregivers. Findings indicated relatively stable levels of PTG over the first 6 months after diagnosis, despite the poor prognosis for this disease. Family caregivers were also found to experience PTG as a result of their loved one's diagnosis of an aggressive cancer (Moore AM, et. al., Steel JL. Psychooncology 20:479-87, 2011).
  • A study examined how family members of patients with a primary malignant brain tumor transition into the caregiver role and how their perceptions of this transition change over time. Results show that caregivers require support in handling neurologic and physical sequelae, transitioning into new roles, and avoiding becoming enmeshed in the care situation (Hricik A, et. al. 38:149-55, 2011).
Beckjord, Ellen, PhD
Psychiatry
Ormond, Ellen, PhD
Psychiatry
Bender, Catherine, PhD, RN, FAAN
Health and Community Systems
Patterson, Kevin, MD
Psychiatry
Bovbjerg, Dana, PhD
Psychiatry
Posluszny, Donna, PhD
Medicine
Donovan, Heidi, PhD, RN
Acute and Tertiary Care
Sherwood, Paula, PhD, RN, CNRN
Acute and Tertiary Care
Ewing, Linda, PhD, RN
Psychiatry
Steel, Jennifer, PhD
Surgery
Horn, Charles, PhD
Medicine
Stollings, Susan, PhD
Medicine
Noll, Robert, PhD
Psychiatry
van Londen, Gjisberta, MD, MS
Medicine