Cancer Control Research5R03CA094690-02
Trunzo, Joseph J.
HEAD AND NECK CANCER: FAMILY DISTRESS AND RISK BEHAVIORS
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Head and neck cancers are among the most preventable of all cancers due to behavioral risk factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol use. Gaining an understanding of the psychosocial factors that affect smoking behavior and alcohol consumption is critical in the prevention of this illness and has broader implications for the prevention of other behaviorally linked diseases, such as lung cancer. This prospective pilot study will investigate the relationship between social problem solving ability and engaging in high risk behaviors (smoking and alcohol use) in first-degree relatives of head and neck cancer patients, an at risk population due to genetic and behavioral factors. Between 120 and 180 first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, adult children) of head and neck cancer patients beginning treatment will be recruited into the study. Self-report measures of social problem-solving ability, smoking and alcohol use, mood, and perceived risk will be obtained at the beginning and end of the family members' treatment. It is hypothesized that better problem solvers will engage in less frequent risk behaviors and will report less distress than poorer problem solvers. Additionally, this study will assess the relationships among perceived risk, distress, and social problem solving ability. It is hypothesized that individuals with higher perceived risk will experience greater distress, but this relationship will be moderated by social problem solving ability. Additional relationships among social problem solving and established constructs that affect risk behaviors (dependence, self-efficacy, decisional balance, stage of change) will be collected and descriptively analyzed. Finally, if hypotheses are confirmed, data for this pilot study will be utilized to inform future larger scale controlled randomized intervention studies.