Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP


Breast cancer is a leading cause of death in women in the United States, with hereditary breast cancers accounting for approximately 10% of the diagnoses. Nevertheless, women can decrease their risk by obtaining genetic testing and are often referred for the test if one or more of their relatives has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has the BRCA/BRCA2 cancer mutation. The purpose of the current study was to examine predictors of healthy women’s (ages 18 to 35) hypothetical decisions about genetic testing and prophylactic treatments for the BRCA1/BRCA2 genetic mutations by measuring social problem solving (SPS) variables, health anxiety, and psychological distress. A survey format to was used to determine whether there was a relationship between these variables, genetic testing, and/or prophylactic treatment decisions. Measures included the Social Problem-Solving Inventory-Revised, Short Form (SPSIR: S), Health Anxiety Inventory (HAI), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), a demographic questionnaire, and two hypothetical vignettes. Results revealed that positive problemsolving orientation (PPO) is predictive of prophylactic treatment decisions. The results support the literature in that genetic testing decisions are difficult to predict, and other factors that have yet to be determined may be contributing to the decision. Future research should look at these relationships in larger non-hypothetical samples and in different disease groups to determine whether the results differ.