Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department Chair

Stephanie Felgoise, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Barbara Golden

Second Advisor

Robert DiTomasso

Third Advisor

Jeffery Alpart


Cancer caregivers are a unique population among grief literature due to the typical experience of preparedness for the loss. Nevertheless, their responses may vary, with some experiencing significant distress resulting in prolonged grief disorder (PGD). PGD has higher risks for mental and health problems, creating an urgency to understand the underlying factors for appropriate treatment interventions. Research mainly examines automatic thought processes in grief coping processes, but there is minimal research on the influence of metacognitive beliefs on PGD. Furthermore, there is a limited understanding of how the quality of the relationship between the deceased and the caregiver influences PGD symptomology. The primary objective of this study is to assess if the relationship quality (i.e., closeness and conflict) between the cancer caregiver and the deceased and the cancer caregiver's metacognitive beliefs predict PGD. Participants (n = 140) who lost a loved one from cancer at least one year ago completed the Metacognitive Questionaire-30, The Prolonged Grief Disorder- Revised, and the Quality of Relationship Inventory- Bereavement. A hierarchical linear regression analysis indicated associations between positive beliefs about worry and negative beliefs about uncontrollability and danger and PGD symptoms. These findings provide evidence that metacognitive beliefs are associated with PGD symptomology. Findings may suggest the importance of considering metacognitive beliefs in treating PGD.