Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Stephanie Felgoise, Ph.D., ABPP, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Carole Moretz, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Barbara Golden, Psy.D., ABPP


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States (CDC, 2005). Physicians who disclose the cancer diagnosis to patients are faced with limited professional training and few consensus clinical guidelines for communicating this diagnosis to their patients (Buckman, 1992; Girgis, Sanson-Fisher, & Schofield, 1999). Use of guidelines for delivering bad news and tailoring the bad news message to individual patients is recommended, but it is unclear if this is followed in the medical community (Baile, Lenzi, Parker, Buckman, & Cohen, 2002). The current study was conducted through a mail-in survey, of 186 surveys delivered, 111 were returned, with 100 meeting inclusion criteria. Both monitor and blunter coping styles reported satisfaction both with overall healthcare satisfaction (73% and 63% respectively) and with their physicians (76% and 74% respectively). The monitor coping style participants reported higher satisfaction levels when more information was provided, but the blunter coping style participants unexpectedly reported higher levels of satisfaction when more information was provided, countering past research that indicated less information would result in higher satisfaction. The implications of distinguishing context versus context of the guidelines are explored, and limitations and direction of future research are discussed.