Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Hypotheses derived from psychoanalytic theory of body image were tested using 80 female cancer outpatients at various stages of the disease. Subjects were administered the following measures: Body-Cathexis Scale, Tennessee Self-Concept Scale, Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, and a general information questionnaire. Results showed that body image is significantly related to self image and depression, but no significant relationship was found between body image and interpersonal needs behavior scores. Data also suggested the existence of denial as manifested by low self-criticism, personality integration, interpersonal needs behavior, and depression scores. Early remission patients differed most from newly diagnosed and late remission patients, by being less self-critical and obtaining higher interpersonal needs behavior scores. This difference suggested the establishment of a defensive system which may break down over time. Results further suggested that distress is not limited to early treatment and follow-up periods, since five or more years without recurrence was not sufficient to effect more positive scores. Further, patients who were voluntarily participating in psychological support groups achieved scores indicative of a healthier level of adjustment than a matched random sample of patients involved in medical treatment only. Discussion concluded that data were supportive of psychoanalytic theory regarding emotional trauma of physical disease, as well as observations of other investigators. Implications for psychological services and future research were discussed.