Date of Award

Fall 2018

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Erin Hill, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jasmin Tahmaseb McConatha, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ekeoma Uzogara, Ph.D.


Ovarian cancer poses significant mental and physical threats to survivors (Price et al., 2010; Siegal et al., 2018). Coping plays a significant role in determining mental health outcomes, and the present study examines the role of coping strategies in the mental health of ovarian cancer survivors. Participants were recruited through the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry and respondents (n = 100, Mage = 60.09, SD = 10.79, 97.0% White American) completed a mail questionnaire that collected data on demographics, medical information, use of coping strategies, and mental health including depression, anxiety, and stress. Zero-order correlations were run to identify significant correlates of the mental health outcomes, then hierarchical linear regression analyses were conducted to assess the influence of coping strategies on mental health. The results show that coping by emotional social support seeking was predictive of fewer depressive symptoms, while age and focusing on and venting of emotions were predictive of greater stress symptoms. Most notably, coping by behavioral disengagement emerged as a significant predictor of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. These results highlight the substantial threat of behavioral disengagement on mental health. Given the significant overlap of behavioral disengagement with constructs of helplessness/hopelessness, it is crucial for future interventions to target these feelings, and for further research to conduct longitudinal studies to clarify the direction of the relationships identified in the present study.