Term of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health in Community Health Behavior and Education (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health

Committee Chair

Levi Ross

Committee Member 1

Stacy Smallwood

Committee Member 2

Andrew Hansen


Patient involvement in prostate cancer treatment care planning is essential when using the shared decision-making model. However, not all patients begin their cancer journeys wanting to partner with physicians during treatment consultations. Research indicates that socio-demographic variables account for a modest amount (15%) of the variance in decision making role preferences (DMRP). Before new patient involvement interventions can be developed, modifiable determinants of DMRP need to be identified. This dissertation research explored the connection between prostate cancer survivors’ illness beliefs and their preferences for interacting with physicians to develop disease management strategies. This exploration was guided by Leventhal's Common-Sense Model (CSM) of Illness Representations as the analytic lens. Methods: This multisite study employed a mixed methods convergent parallel research design. From 2012 - 2015, twenty-four African-American and Caucasian prostate cancer survivors living in Western New York or Southeast Georgia completed a qualitative interview and quantitative survey. Results: Study participants expressed all three DMRP (informed [10, 41.7%], shared [13, 54.2%] and passive [1, 4.2%]). The most commonly mentioned CSM domains in patients’ narratives were identity, consequences and timeline. Results from bivariate analyses (Fisher’s exact test, p = 0.87; independent sample t-test, p = 0.66) indicated that there were no associations between patients’ illness representation profiles and their DMRP. Discussion: CSM domains, captured qualitatively, do not appear to differentiate men with shared or informed DMRP. Future studies should be conducted with larger samples of patients using CSM quantitative measures to further explore associations between illness beliefs and DMRP.

Research Data and Supplementary Material