Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a genetic condition that is characterized by many physical and cognitive signs and symptoms. Many of the physical manifestations are widespread and visible, which may cause an individual to be a target of stigmatization. An individual’s perception of this stigmatization could lead to emotional distress and a decreased quality of life. To date, there is no research investigating the underlying cognitive factors that drive emotional responses to these negative events in individuals with NF1. More specifically, a literature review reveals no research indicating that cognitive distortions or acceptance have ever been studied in this population. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between cognitive distortions, perceived stigmatization, and levels of acceptance among adults with NF1 in order to inform assessment and treatment of individuals with this disorder. Adults (n = 48) with NF1 volunteered to complete four self-report measures: the Inventory of Cognitive Distortions, the Perceived Stigmatization Questionnaire, the Ablon Scale, and the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire. Results indicated that the frequency of cognitive distortions was a significant predictor of acceptance. Furthermore, the frequency of cognitive distortions and self-rating of disease visibility predicted level of perceived stigmatization. On the other hand, age at NF1 diagnosis was not a significant predictor of level of acceptance. These results have implications for assessment treatment and support the use of cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy in this population.