Internet-based interventions have been effective in improving cancer survivors' psychosocial functioning. However, low levels of engagement in these interventions have been common. A qualitative interview study was conducted to assess cancer survivors' needs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a diverse sample of 25 cancer survivors who were minimally engaged (i.e. spent around 1 hour total on website) with the online intervention created by Owen and colleagues. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using content analysis. Twenty themes were identified from the individual interviews. With an average Kappa in the near perfect range (Kappa= 0.89), the obtained codes were deemed a valid representation of the data. The most common themes included the desire to make connections with other survivors (i.e. sharing, belonging to a group), the structure of the intervention (i.e. ease of use, organization), personal relevance (i.e. perceiving website as a fit, having a need for the website), information provided (i.e. general resources, medical expertise), and the individual's cancer trajectory (i.e. interacting with others with the same cancer type). The data indicate that cancer survivors have diverse needs and preferences. Flexibility should become the gold standard, where interventions could aim to tailor the website based on key variables. For example, a survivor could choose the type of information they would like to receive, the type of survivors they would like to interact with, and the topics of conversation applicable to their experience. The current study serves as a starting point for future research to identify and evaluate individual preferences on engagement. Understanding the needs of cancer survivors and implementing interventions that take into account these needs holds promise for increasing engagement and thus improving outcomes.
School of Behavioral Health
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Online Health Resources; Mental Health - Computer Network Resources; Cancer; Crisis intervention (Mental Health Services);
Subject - Local
Online intervention, Cancer survivors, Psychological distress, Online psychosocial resources, Internet-based interventions
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Gorlick, Amanda, "Evaluating Use of an Online Intervention for Cancer Patients with Distress" (2013). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. Paper 123.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives