Coping with Breast Cancer by Text vs. Talk

Kathleen Drabos, Graduate Center studentPh.D. Student Kathleen Darabos (Health Psychology and Clinical Science) was awarded a six-year fellowship grant of more than $300,000 from the National Cancer Institute to support her predoctoral and postdoctoral research.
Darabos is also a graduate student researcher at Hunter College’s Stress and Coping Lab, where she is working on her research project with guidance from Professor Michael Hoyt (GC/Hunter, Psychology). She is examining whether technology-based social support, compared with traditional face-to-face communication, is related to better mental and physical health in breast cancer survivors between the ages of 18 and 39.
Research studies have suggested that a patient’s social network serves as a key resource in managing cancer-related concerns and results in better psychological adjustment and decreased mortality. These studies have mostly focused on older patients, and on social support through face-to-face communcation. Women younger than 40 often use electronic communications to stay in touch with their friends, and Darabos plans to examine whether support conveyed by text message is as effective as support received in person.
“These patients are kind of underserved” as research participants, Darabos said. “These are individuals who often have to put their lives on hold when they get a cancer diagnosis; they delay jobs, and delay starting a family. There are a lot of psychosocial issues, and I’m interested in exploring that.”
Before starting at the GC and Hunter, Darabos worked for three years at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, where she researched psychological interventions that improve quality of life in cancer patients. 

Submitted on: OCT 31, 2017

Category: General GC News, Health Psychology and Clinical Science, Student News