Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Leslie Robinson

Committee Member

Roneferiti Fowler

Committee Member

Meghan McDevitt-Murphy

Committee Member

George Relyea


Cigarette smoking can seriously impede cancer treatment and leads to poorer treatment response. Fortunately, even when patients have cancer, smoking cessation has significant benefits. However, there have not been many successful well-controlled studies assessing smoking cessation interventions in oncology settings. The present study aimed to expand upon the current literature by exploring sample characteristics and individual differences in this understudied population. Data were collected from 649 adult participants at a mid-South community-based cancer center. Three measures were developed and subjected to factor analysis to assess level of health literacy, perceived stigma, and oncology-related triggers in this sample. These variables were then used as the dependent variables for three separate General Linear Models to determine whether scale scores varied by ethnicity, gender, smoking level, and whether the participant was a cancer survivor or currently in treatment. Each measure demonstrated adequate internal consistency and produced a single factor. Females were more likely than males to experience more smoking triggers when faced with cancer symptoms or treatments. Caucasians were more likely than African Americans, and lower level smokers were more likely than heavy smokers, to have higher health literacy. No individual differences were found within perceived stigma scores. Several implications of this research should be acknowledged. First, each scale demonstrated strong internal consistency in an oncology patient sample, making them appropriate for use in future research and confirming their utility in a clinical setting. Second, women were more likely than men to experience increased triggers to smoke when faced with oncology-related stress. They may need more support from medical and mental health staff to address cravings and to ensure their cigarette consumption does not increase. Third, smoking-related health literacy levels were high overall, indicating that patients are aware of the health consequences of smoking. However, these participants continued to smoke even though they realized that they are less likely to have successful treatment outcomes. Further, health literacy varied by both ethnicity and smoking level, but patients scored high on health literacy overall. This may indicate the need for motivational enhancement strategies to increase motivation to quit among African Americans and heavier smokers.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.