Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Marilyn Stern


For adolescents with cancer, a population notably neglected in the literature, maintaining and strengthening academic and social self-efficacy is especially salient in terms of promoting positive adaptation on key developmental indices. Based on prior research citing their potential roles among adolescents adapting to cancer, treatment modality, dispositional optimism, and perceived vulnerability were chosen as variables likely related to social and academic self-efficacy. Forty-two adolescents diagnosed with cancer and at least six months post-treatment completed questionnaire packets. Analyses indicated that although treatment modality did not relate to academic or social self-efficacy, prognosis should be considered as a covariate. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that dispositional optimism and perceived vulnerability predicted the change in academic (ΔR2=.25, F(2,27)=6.88, p=.004) and social self-efficacy (ΔR2=.21, F(2, 27)=4.97, p=.015) beyond the influence of prognosis. Independently, there was a main effect of perceived vulnerability on academic self-efficacy (Bacademic self-efficacy= -.64, p=.02) with perceived vulnerability accounting for 12% of the unique variance (sr2=.12,p=.02). A main effect of dispositional optimism on social self-efficacy (Bsocial self-efficacy=.65,p=.03) was also observed with dispositional optimism accounting for 10% of the unique variance (sr2=.l0, p=.03). These results lend themselves to future intervention studies promoting academic and social skills through the integration of positive dispositional traits, like optimism, and enhancing realistic perceptions of vulnerability.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Psychology Commons