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Dr. Cantrell to study hope interventions in childhood cancer survivors with NINR grant

Villanova, PA, September 2, 2009 — Mary Ann Cantrell, Ph.D., R.N., CS, associate professor at Villanova University College of Nursing has received a three-year Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). NINR is a division of the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Cantrell will be researching “A hope intervention to influence quality of life among female survivors of childhood cancer.”

Dr. Cantrell has been studying issues related to childhood cancer for 12 years, beginning with her dissertation research that examined the relationships among gender, stage of adolescence, hopefulness, and self-esteem among adolescents with cancer who were in active treatment. She extended her dissertation research to examine these relationships between adolescents with cancer and a cohort group of healthy adolescents. In this study, she discovered that for females, both healthy and ill, self-esteem and hopefulness had a significant relationship.

This new study has been developed because “the emerging population of childhood cancer survivors has created the need for evidence-based interventions to promote effective psychosocial functioning and to enhance their health-related quality of life (HRQOL) as they experience survivorship,” writes Dr. Cantrell. HRQOL has been identified as an important measurable outcome of the cancer experience among childhood cancer survivors. Female survivors have been identified to be at a high risk for negative psychosocial functioning such as poor health-related quality of life. Hope is a powerful coping mechanism and a determinant of HRQOL among pediatric oncology patients. Among adolescent female oncology patients, hope and self-esteem have a strong, positive relationship in which hope supports these individuals’ ability to cope with the experience of cancer.

The objective of this project is to determine the effectiveness of a nurse-delivered, Web-based intervention to enhance hopefulness among early female survivors of childhood cancer, who are six months to five years off treatment, and to assess its long-term effects.

Mary Ann Cantrell, associate professor at Villanova University College of Nursing
Mary Ann Cantrell, associate professor at Villanova University College of Nursing