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.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Owen, Jason

Second Advisor

Bantum, Erin

Third Advisor

Flynn, Patricia

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded

January 2013

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



Page Count

101 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

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.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives