Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Special Issue

Innovations and Real World Applications in Relationship Research in Cancer

Journal of Psychosocial Oncology

In the cancer literature, it is widely recognized that adult relationships play an important role in health behaviors, decision-making, and quality of life.

Among these relationships, the patient’s relationship with his or her informal caregiver (usually the patient’s spouse/significant other or another close family member or friend) is considered paramount as cancer care is frequently provided in the outpatient setting.

Informal caregivers are increasingly responsible for assisting with treatment decision-making and coordinating care with the healthcare team, administering medication and performing complex care tasks at home, monitoring treatment side effects/helping manage symptom burden, and providing emotional support.

Given the growing acknowledgement that patients, caregivers, and their relationships are profoundly affected by the cancer experience, a burgeoning literature involving descriptive and intervention research has evolved focusing on dyadic relationships (e.g., couples, patient-caregiver) in cancer.

To advance the field of dyadic research, it is critical to identify effective dyadic interventions, examine core aspects of dyadic relationships that promote positive health outcomes, develop and test methodological innovations, and identify and target challenges in conducting dyadic research in cancer.

For this special issue, we are interested in research that challenges existing paradigms or offers new and innovative perspectives to advance the science of dyadic relationships in cancer.

We invite authors to propose papers that address a clearly defined question or issue in one of the following areas in cancer populations:

  1. Interventions – Studies (e.g. randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental) of novel dyadic interventions in cancer populations. We are particularly interested in studies with findings that shed light on how couple/family relationships can be targeted to improve patient care and outcomes, whom to target (patient, caregiver, both), and factors involved in deciding on modality of intervention delivery, dosage, and timing.
  2. Core aspects or mechanisms of dyadic relationships that promote positive health behaviors and outcomes in cancer – Quantitative studies that apply or test dyadic theories (e.g. systemic, relational theories) and approaches to understand psychosocial outcomes (e.g., psychological distress), health behavior change, symptom management, or health utilization outcomes after cancer or qualitative studies that clarify the role of dyadic relationships in individual or couple health behaviors or outcomes.
  3. Methodological innovations in dyadic research – Studies examining how technology (e.g., eHealth, mHealth) can be leveraged to optimize patient and caregiver outcomes or that utilize non-traditional methodologies (e.g., experience sampling methods, intensive longitudinal designs).
  4. Challenges with implementation, clinical uptake, and dissemination – Studies identifying or examining the unique challenges of implementing dyadic interventions in healthcare settings, cost effectiveness, unique needs of medically underserved and underrepresented populations, or that posit or test potential models for dissemination are encouraged.

Submission Instructions

Psychometric or scale validation studies and clinical case studies are not within the scope of this call for papers and will not be accepted.

Systematic or narrative reviews will be considered. Drs. Hoda Badr and Jennifer Barsky Reese will serve as co-editors.

Authors are welcome to share a draft abstract with Dr. Badr ( and Dr. Reese (include if there are questions regarding whether a particular paper would be a good fit for this call.

The deadline for submitting an abstract is February 15, 2018. The abstract (approximately 350 words) should include the study’s objectives, design, sample, methods, findings, conclusion, and implications for psychosocial providers.

The editors will then provide feedback regarding suitability of the proposal for the special issue and invite selected authors to submit a full manuscript.

The final deadline for paper submission for the special issue is March 31, 2018.

Please submit abstracts to and indicate that you would like to have the paper considered for the special issue.

Editorial information